The Mekong river delta is home to millions of Vietnamese. Many of these people rely on the extensive network of rivers and canals for transportation. Due to the recent fast economic development, most of the boats that crisscross the delta are motorised. The waves created by these boats relentlessly pound the river banks, causing enormous soil erosion.
It is estimated that hundreds of hectares of cultivable land and thousands of kilometers of dikes are lost annually. However there has been no cost-effective mean to control the erosion.
Vetiver Grass Technology
Vetiver Grass (Vetiveria Zizanioid) was first used for soil and water conservation in India in the 1980s. It has since been used successfully to stabilise land and to control soil erosion for mine tailing, highway embankments, dam banks, etc. in Australia and many other countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, China, etc. The grass was first introduced into Vietnam in the late 1990s by Dr Paul Trương, a specialist working at the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Brisbane, Australia
Vetiver Grass project
Recognising that the Vetiver GrassTechnology is a low cost, labour intensive technology, suitable for rural Vietnam, the Vietnam Foundation supported a trial program that attempted, for the first time, to use Vetiver Grass for stabilising soil against erosion caused by waves in the Mekong Delta.
The trail program consists of two stages:
- stage 1 (Mar 2001- Mar 2002): to set up a plant nursery
- stage 2 (Mar 2002- Mar 2003): set up test sites and conduct experiment.
If the technology is proved successful then it will be widely introduced to people in the Mekong delta to combat the wave erosion problem.
The Vietnam Foundation’s financial support for the project amounted to AUD 2970.
Following the commitment from the Vietnam Foundation, the Donner Foundation in the USA, through a proposal by Dr Paul Trương, pledged its contribution of USD 8300 to the project also.
The project is being executed by Mr Lưu Thái Danh, Dr Lê Việt Dũng and other staff at the Department of Crop Science, University of Cần Thơ.
Dr Paul Trương also donates his time as consultant and joint supervisor of the project..
At the end of the first stage of the project (Mar 2002), a 4-hectare nursery consisting of 10 Million slips of grass has been set up, ready for use in the second stage. The research team also added studies of tolerance of the Vetiver Grass to acid sulphate and saline soils and use of the grass for stock feed.
Many other institutions, private enterprises and the governmental authorities have since shown great interests in the technology.
For further information please see
* These photos were taken from website of The Vetiver Network International