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< prev - next > Agriculture Soil fertility and composting vetiver hedges and sisal halt soil erosion (Printable PDF)
Vetiver hedges and sisal halt soil erosion, improve soil and water conservation
Practical Action
Fertility replenishment has remained low due to the prohibitive prices while rotations have been
restricted by Iimited holding size. Crop residues have been routinely harvested for fodder;
meaning crop fields are inherently mined of nutrients.
Given these and many other related problems, the need for change of land - use and natural
resources utilization patters in the rural areas has never been more crucial. Of paramount
importance therefore, is ensuring that these resources are not over-exploited and where this has
already occurred, prevention measures are taken against further excessive resource exploitation.
The quest for a permanently sustainable form of agriculture in which the lands use system
provides for multiple outputs and inter-linked components in an open system.
This is where these technical guidelines come in. The guidelines, therefore, are a product of
extensive work. Practical Action Southern Africa and its partners hope that these technical
guidelines shall serve as a true reflection of the use of vetiver and sisal in rural areas in
Zimbabwe. We also believe that it will go a long way in imparting skills for managing and using
vetiver grass and sisal.
The partners in the Improving the Livelihood Options of the Vulnerable Rural Poor Communities
in Semi - Arid Areas of Zimbabwe Project are grateful to the European Commission's Zimbabwe
Delegation for providing financial resources to produce this document. Without their support, the
publication of the guidelines would not have taken place. The partners are also grateful to all
those people who are too numerous to mention - for their unwavering support and contribution to
the process.
All over Southern
Africa, soil erosion
has increased
alarmingly in recent
decades, resulting in
poorer harvests, more
work and less food for
farmers and their
families. Due to the
ravages of water and
wind, Southern
African soils - the
primary resource of
the region's farmers -
have literally been
washing way, slipping
through their fingers.
Hills are stripped
A degraded landscape.
bare; wells run dry
because ground water
levels diminish. Every
year, hunger gains more territory.
Due to their physical and chemical characteristics, the majority of the region's soils cannot
withstand the erosive effects of water and wind. Water erosion is caused mostly by violent
downpours. When vegetation has been removed, rain-water runs off instead of seeping into the