Nicaragua: Vetiver as a Community Project

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Googling the web for other information, I came across this article in Spanish from Nicaragua whose title translates as The Wizards of Vetiver. It tells the story of this rural community 45 km south of Managua, the capital of Nicaragua that has turned Vetiver into a communal effort. Working as a cooperative and with the funding and assistance of government agencies, they have turned to Vetiver as an answer to their agricultural problems and as a source of community income.

Early plantings of Vetiver provided dramatic improvements in the condition of their agricultural soils by increasing humidity in an otherwise very dry terrain. The community then implemented an education program by means of posters, newspapers, and radio programs, that resulted in the whole community embracing the technology improving the agricultural productivity accross the region.

Today the cooperative sells Vetiver to the government and other farmers in Nicaragua. Not only has their agricultural productivity increased, but Vetiver is now a major commercial product of their community, with additional income being produced from crafts made out of the Vetiver leaves. In the end, the educational and commercial efforts will have benefited about 12,000 families. This is an important aspect of Vetiver that we sometimes miss in the more developed countries, and it is gratifying to see it done well where it is needed.

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