The Vetiver system has an important role in agriculture in general, but mainly in the conservation of soil and water on agricultural land, being one of its main applications. On agricultural land it offers an effective low-cost method for the conservation of soils and waters in sloping areas. An example is the improvement obtained in crop production in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Therefore, this system is the ideal solution for the control of loss of fertile soil (up to 90%) and the reduction of runoff (up to 70%), which leads to a significant increase in the availability of rainwater for crops and aquifers. But this system does not end here, it goes one step further improving soil fertility, resulting in a higher crop yield of up to 40%.
Soil recovery and water protection are essential in the agriculture of our time when erosion and loss of fertile soil is described by different authors as the public enemy number 1, and not without reason, since the current values are between 40 and 70 tons per hectare / year. There are currently 7,700 million living human beings, and there are no more than 5,000 million hectares of fertile soil on Earth, so it is urgent that we create fertile soil, and in the vetiver we have an ideal and low-cost tool.
Recovering soil and water, and stop the erosion caused by agricultural work are actions for which the vetiver can be a powerful tool. Forming barriers on a contour line guarantees protection and retention of the arable layer, if we compare this system with other possible ones (be they walls, terraces, bio-rolls, etc.), the SV will always be more economical, and once established it is a source of material for future barriers, padded bed for cattle, biomass, etc.
In areas of slopes it functions as a living wall and retains sediments and water, the first ones being trapped behind the barrier creating terraces, but without causing the barrier to be buried, as it will grow at the same time as material accumulates behind it. The accumulated material is rich in nutrients so fertile soil is being created in the process. As for the water that runs down the slope upon reaching the barrier, its speed decreases, which also makes it easier for it to infiltrate the ground and through the roots of the barrier, accumulating in the subsoil. The percentage that exceeds the barrier is minimal and at low speed, helping the water to continue infiltrating the ground even further, beyond the barrier. In addition, it must be taken into account that the purification capacity of the roots makes the infiltrated water to be of a very high quality and free of contaminants.
Another value of the barrier to consider is its effectiveness as a retaining wall. Its roots can reach up to 5 meters deep, and its tensile strength can be at 75 Mps or more. In addition, it is necessary to mention that Vetiver roots develop vertically, which in no case competes with adjacent crops. That is, among other functions, they can develop sloping crops without loss of soil due to runoff.
- Maintenance of soil moisture
- Groundwater recharge
- Supply and production of nutrients
- Pest control
- Mulching or padding
- Cleaning and improvement of contaminated water and land
- Infrastructure protection (roads, walls, ditches, slope protection, etc.)
- Carbon sequestration
- Land stabilizer