The sixth international conference on Vetiver grass with the theme “Vetiver System: Empowering Sustainable Development” opened on May 6 in central Da Nang City.

Vetiver grass is a naturally-occurring tropical plant. In Thailand, vetiver grass can be found growing in a wide range of areas in various soil conditions.

If planted along contours across a slope, a clump above the ground will produce tillers, forming a green hedge. The grass is then able to trap crop residue and silt eroded by runoff, naturally forming an earth embankment.

Growing vetiver grass can strengthen and sustain farming systems in high rainfall areas and can be applied in other areas for preservation and conservation of land and water resources, such as along the banks of the irrigation canals, reservoirs or ponds along road shoulders, bridge approaches and in forests.

The conference, first held in 1996 in Thailand, presents opportunities for participants to talk about the utility of vetiver in reducing soil and water loss, waste water treatment, and climate change response, among other values.

Participants to this year’s three-day conference include the Vetiver Network International’s (TVNI) Patron, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindihorn of Thailand, local authorities and representatives from Da Nang University and businesses.

Participants were briefed of the operations and development of the TVNI and discussed the application of vetiver in biotechnology and natural disaster relief as well as its significant economic, environmental and social benefits.

They are scheduled to make field trips to study the growing of vetiver to prevent landslide and also for decoration purpose at the Da Nang College of Technology and the Laguna Lang Co resort in central Hue city.

According to Tran Tan Van, President of the TVNI-Vietnam, Vietnam has played an active role in the network by hosting the conference for the first time.

Since the establishment of the TVNI-Vietnam in 1999, vetiver has been widely used across the country in mitigating disasters and protecting infrastructure facilities.

The organisation received a number of international certificates for its efforts in developing the system, including the Vetiver Champion for disaster mitigation at the fourth conference held in 2006 in Caracas, Venezuela.-VNA