What is vetiver? Vetiver is a type of fragrant grass that grows with long stems and long, thin, rigid leaves. Though it originated in Asia, it is widely cultivated in tropical regions all over the world.
Vetiver can be used for many things. Most significantly, the oil derived from the plant is used for perfumery, cosmetics, and aromatherapy. Over half of the world’s vetiver oil originates from Haiti, and 90% of Haiti’s vetiver oil is exported to Switzerland, France, and the United States, where it is primarily used in the manufacture of men’s perfumes. Vetiver oil lends an earthy-woody aroma to perfume. Vetiver’s usefulness doesn’t stop there. Due to the plant’s fibrous properties, it can also be used for handicrafts and rope production.
Vetiver is also widely used in agricultural production. Its root system is very strong, meaning the plant can help to stabilize the soil, withstand deep water flow, and protect against erosion. It is often planted on hillsides and near streams to combat the effects of erosion. It can also protect soil moisture under hot and dry conditions.
In addition to being a great plant for erosion control, it is also great for animal feed. Vetiver is able to survive heavy grazing and is a suitable feed for cattle, goats, sheep, and horses. It is also used for weed control in coffee and cocoa fields.
In Haiti, over 30,000 small-scale farmers cultivate vetiver for all these reasons and more!