Vetiver grass – a green engineering solution in Antigua and Barbuda

In Antigua and Barbuda, Vetiver grass is being used to ameliorate and rehabilitate the Cooks Landfill, which borders one of the country’s largest mangrove swamps. This activity is taking place under the “Strengthening Coastal and Marine Climate Resilience through Upland and Coastal EcosystemBased Adaptation and Community Engagement ‘’ project currently being implemented by the Inter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

 

In mid-2021 Vetiver cuttings were imported from Dominica under the project. Following the plants arrival and quarantine, CARDI Antigua and Barbuda Unit provided technical assistance to the project partners to establish and maintain 2 propagation nurseries in Bendals and the Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center.

 

CARDI provided technical guidance to the project partners on the grass’ agronomy, fertilizer regime, soil and water management and weed control strategies. CARDI has a track record of working with grasses and so the Unit’s assistance in the establishment and maintenance of these nurseries have been important to the success of this project, says CARDI Representative Paul Lucas. CARDI will also establish and maintain a museum plot at its field station in Betty’s Hope. These nurseries will supply the planting material to establish hedgerows along the perimeter of the landfill. The hedge will control soil erosion and leaching of toxic chemicals – both of which are hazards to biodiversity in the area.

 

Another component of the project is a training programme for persons to use Vetiver grass for handicrafts. Targeting women and youths this programme aims to stimulate the development of a sustainable green business and promote sustainable livelihoods.

 

The project is supported under the CBF EbA Facility, financed by the Government of Germany, German Development Bank (KfW) with resources from the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

 

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