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  • Find vetiver nuseries check this page:
    Posted Jan 5, 2015, 9:38 AM by Vetiver Kenya
  • PLUS-Kenya to demonstrate VS on Nairobi southern bypass Today by official letter from KENHA the Nairobi Southern Bypass Project is requested to facilitate that PLUS-Kenya establish a demonstration site on the section crossing Ngong road.Thanks to ...
    Posted Sep 6, 2014, 1:28 PM by Vetiver Kenya
  • Pure water for the world Pure water for the world is a pipedream drifting toward reality. Good news!
    Posted Aug 17, 2014, 6:36 AM by Vetiver Kenya
  • Dams cause climate change  so we need to think twice, also we've not considered costs, risks ...
    Posted Aug 17, 2014, 6:20 AM by Vetiver Kenya
  • Soil erosion in Kenya David Pimentel and Michael Burgess (both of Cornell University) have published a paper Soil Erosion Threatens Food Production that everybody who works in the agricultural and natural resources sectors should ...
    Posted Apr 24, 2014, 5:18 AM by Vetiver Kenya
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Find vetiver nuseries

posted Jan 5, 2015, 9:38 AM by Vetiver Kenya

check this page:

PLUS-Kenya to demonstrate VS on Nairobi southern bypass

posted Sep 6, 2014, 1:28 PM by Vetiver Kenya

Today by official letter from KENHA the Nairobi Southern Bypass Project is requested to facilitate that PLUS-Kenya establish a demonstration site on the section crossing Ngong road.
Thanks to diligent moves by Jane Wegesa and Patrick Mukora, who will now lead this project.
PLUS-Kenya is raising resources for this demonstration from its own funds and network. Work to start soon.

Pure water for the world

posted Aug 17, 2014, 6:36 AM by Vetiver Kenya

Pure water for the world is a pipedream drifting toward reality. Good news!

Dams cause climate change

posted Aug 17, 2014, 6:19 AM by Vetiver Kenya   [ updated Aug 17, 2014, 6:20 AM ]  so we need to think twice, also we've not considered costs, risks (of hasards), etc.

Soil erosion in Kenya

posted Apr 24, 2014, 5:14 AM by Vetiver Kenya   [ updated Apr 24, 2014, 5:18 AM ]

David Pimentel and Michael Burgess (both of Cornell University) have published a paper Soil Erosion Threatens Food Production that everybody who works in the agricultural and natural resources sectors should read. An abstract of their paper follows: "Since humans worldwide obtain more than 99.7% of their food (calories) from the land and less than 0.3% from the oceans and aquatic ecosystems, preserving cropland and maintaining soil fertility should be of the highest importance to human welfare. Soil erosion is one of the most serious threats facing world food production. Each year about 10 million ha of cropland are lost due to soil erosion, thus reducing the cropland available for world food production. The loss of cropland is a serious problem because the World Health Organization and the Food and Agricultural Organization report that two-thirds of the world population is malnourished. Overall, soil is being lost from agricultural areas 10 to 40 times faster than the rate of soil formation imperiling humanity’s food security".

Also recently a young Ethiopian graduate, Tekalign Negash Terefe, carried out a study Farmers' perception on the role of Vetiver grass in Soil and Water Conservation in South Western Ethiopia (The Case of Tulube Peasant Association, Metu District) of a farmers' association that used vetiver for soil and water conservation. The study, although not large, arrived at some interesting findings and insights. Part of the abstract reads "This study identified that Vetiver grass is the cheapest and easily handled by farmers of the area. The assessment of farmers’ perception on Vetiver grass and its use for soil and water conservation showed that most of the farmers got awareness by the NGOs. But illiteracy, land size and ownership problems hinder the further expansion of vetiver grass to the area. This study also identified that Vetiver grass is a very simple, practical, inexpensive, low maintenance and very effective means of soil and water conservation, sediment control, land stabilizations and rehabilitation. Farmers who planted vetiver grass on their farm land have been benefited both in land management and as a source of income which improved has their socio economic status in the community".

David Pimentel is a well known and respected scientist, who incidentally was part of the National Research Council committee that reviewed the potential of Vetiver Grass and published - Vetiver Grass - A Thin Green Line Against Erosion (1993), and his views and comments, although not necessarily new, are important, and in the paper he and Michael Burgess ably bring together a wide and rather disclosure of the threatening problems we will face as a result of a failure to control erosion.

Tekalign Terefe, a young man with little experience, has carried out a useful field study of how some of the problems highlighted in the Pimentel - Burgess paper can be mitigated through the Vetiver System when applied by small farmers in the developing world and what may be preventing an expansion of the technology.

I suggest that you read both and share with others!

Dick Grimshaw
Erosion in Kenya

Soil as Carbon Storehouse: New Weapon in Climate Fight?

posted Apr 5, 2014, 10:13 AM by Vetiver Kenya   [ updated Apr 5, 2014, 10:39 AM ]

Soils as carbon store house - to address climate change

The degradation of soils from unsustainable agriculture and other development has released billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere. But new research shows how effective land restoration could play a major role in sequestering CO2 and slowing climate change.

The world’s cultivated soils have lost 50 to 70 percent of their original carbon stock – to the atmosphere, where it contributes to global warming.


What is soil carbon? Through photosynthesis, a plant draws carbon out of the air to form carbon compounds. What the plant doesn’t need for growth is exuded through the roots to feed soil organisms, whereby the carbon is humified, or rendered stable. Carbon is the main component of soil organic matter and helps give soil its water-retention capacity, its structure, and its fertility. Some of it can last thousands of years, in contrast to "active" soil carbon. When we have erosion, we lose soil, which carries with it organic carbon, into waterways. When soil is exposed, it oxidizes, essentially burning the soil carbon.


Top priorities should be restoration of degraded and eroded lands – we cannot feed people if soil is degraded - as well as avoiding deforestation and destruction of wetlands.


Storing carbon in soil; it is simple: it’s a matter of returning carbon where it belongs. There are so many options:

-           We need better, regenerative agricultural practices can restore carbon in the soil while also boosting productivity and resilience to floods and drought; think of more permanent crops, cover crops, mulching (not burning), use of biochar, erosion control, better pasture management, and animal husbandry

-           One promising strategy is adding beneficial microbes to stimulate the soil cycles where they have been interrupted by use of insecticides, herbicides, or fertilizers; plants with mycorrhizal connections can transfer up to 15 percent more carbon to soil than their non-mycorrhizal counterparts; to make this happen, the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises minimizing tillage and chemical inputs and using cover crops to keep living roots in the soil.

-           As for agroforestry, greater species diversity matters.

-           Making biochar (heating plant matter, manure, or other organic material in a zero- or low-oxygen environment) has potential to turn problem soils into productive soils while building soil carbon.

-           Soil carbon is generally measured in the top 15 to 30 centimetres, whereas soil at depth may store carbon at much higher rates, for example, in land with deep-rooted grasses the soil can go down five meters or more: using deep-rooted perennial grasses can secure more carbon, and at a depth.

-           Grasslands hold 20% of the world’s soil carbon stock. Much of this land is degraded.
Holistic Planned Grazing (HPG), where livestock are managed as a tool for large-scale land restoration, mimicks herding and grazing patterns of wild ruminants that coevolved with grassland ecosystems. Animals are moved so that no plants are overgrazed, and grazing stimulates biological activity in the soil. Their waste adds fertility, and as they move in a herd their trampling aerates soil, presses in seeds, and pushes down dead plant matter so it can be acted upon by soil microorganisms. All of this generates soil carbon, plant carbon, and water retention. HPG doesn’t require more land — in fact it generally supports greater animal density - so it can be applied wherever livestock are raised.

This news is related to the soon-to-be published book on this matter. Vetiver is discussed in one of its chapters. And currently more research is developed (by researchers from Ethiopia and South Africa) to further quantify the contribution of vetiver.

Soil in a long-term experiment appears red when depleted of carbon (left) and dark brown when carbon content is high (right).

Drilling for water in Turkana

posted Feb 10, 2014, 1:53 AM by Vetiver Kenya   [ updated Feb 10, 2014, 1:55 AM ]
Then we can expect more irrigation projects along the lake, like those PLUS-Kenya is already involved in (in Lodwar and Sigor).
We are in the right position to provide technical input in such projects: catchment protection.

posted Jun 25, 2013, 10:55 AM by Vetiver Kenya   [ updated Jun 25, 2013, 7:24 PM ]

Update April 2013: Kenya all around

posted Jun 19, 2013, 4:38 AM by Vetiver Kenya

  • Voi: Voi and Woldanyi riverbank protection by Paul Kombo.
  • Machakos: one nursery is established, and farmers trained, in collaboration
    with a local group (Annastacia); Paul Mwadime Kombo from Voi did the training. Funding: Tubbergen Rotary. Photo: right).
  • Kajiado/Matampasi (on railway to Magadi), mile 46: Catchment intake and dam (no nursery), Paul Kombo with Neighbours Initiative Alliance - 2012 or 2013? Kajiado/Isinya: Small demo on stream embankment protection and small nurseries in 2 schools and on 2 dams all established in January 2013. Funding: Tubbergen Rotary. Photos: nurseries (2) and stream bank protection, on black cotton soil: gap filling, mulching, adding vertical lines and protection against animals (1).

  • Naivasha The Naivasha Basin Sustainability Initiative funded African Trees in 2012 to introduce Vetiver System in the Mau; nurseries were established (see below: 2012). Now (April 2013) NBSI has plans to hire PLUS-K expertise to expand the practice: three dams in the wider L. Naivasha catchment (some near Gilgil) are going to be protected: embankments, dam, and inlets. Elise Pinners (Green Cycle Consulting Ltd. - GCC) is the lead expert, Christian Makokha and Jane Wegesa are preparing the works.
  • Rongo: more nursery establishment and training took place, for a community near Rongo and  also a community in Migori. Funded by Tubbergen Rotary.
  • Busia: Introduction of Vetiver System on-farm (with PAFID as part of Conservation Agriculture) on-going since 2011.
  • Kerio valley: our p
    Joseph Kwambai's farm: gully rehab
    artnership with Empowering Lives International (ELI-Eldoret) is continuing: 2012 gully works are expanded (more gully works) and more farms will establish contour hedgerows; there is now sufficient planting material. Plans are made to work on landslide prevention and control, and for that more PLUS-K and TVNI expertise is going to be mobilised. Funding: ELI and GCC (in 2012), and Tubbergen Rotary (in 2013).
  • Kitale: nursery establishment on-going. Funded by Tubbergen Rotary. Photo: left.
  • Lodwar: Crossroads Christian Communications Inc. starts irrigation along Turkwel river, PLUS-K assistance started in Feb. 2013 with nursery establishment: Caleb, Jane,
    Lodwar nursery
    Christian & Elise. We got our hands dirty and we're not done yet! - See 'News & events'. More technical support is planned for May and June.  Photo: right.
  • Murang'a school: nursery establishment and training upcoming. Funding committed by Tubbergen Rotary.
  • Thika: nursery establishment and training upcoming, in collaboration with Kenya Institute for Organic Farming (KIOF). Funding committed by Tubbergen Rotary.
  • Kabarnet/Salawa: nursery establishment and training upcoming.

Plant shortage in W. Kenya?

posted Apr 13, 2013, 10:08 AM by Vetiver Kenya   [ updated Apr 13, 2013, 10:10 AM ]

Christian Makokha (Bunyala) reports that due to promotion of Vetiver through a local NGO (this is on-going for some years) and through PALWECO, there is a surge in demand. This is not only for on-farm works, but there are also ideas to use Vetiver for riverbanks and dikes (note: some external expertise is required to do this properly). Well established nursery owners have raised the price to 8 or 9 KSh/slip.
This trend reflects what has already been on-going closer to the coast: Paul Kombo did years of promotion and his nursery sells slips for 9 to 10 KSh/slip.
And there is more demand: requests for more slips in Uganda (road works, on Mt Elgon) - these plants are likely also sourced from W. Kenya. And there is demand for plants near L. Turkana, near Kitale, in L. Naivasha basin, etc.

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