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#438: Many more posts on Kudzu

From: kevin pina <cariborganics@hotmail.com>

It would be a terrible idea to introduce a non-native species like kudzu 
into Haiti.  Haiti's farmers already have their hands full trying to keep 
non-natives species out of the country that may adversely effect coffee and 
cacao production.  I know of several cooperatives who take the issue very 
seriously and are considering petitioning the GOH to consider national 
legislation severely restricting the introduction of non-native species into 
the country. They believe it to be a necessary step in any comprehensive 
environmental recovery program.

I think Max Blanchet had the best idea which is to encourage further 
vetivert planting and harvesting.  The thing plants a twelve foot tap root 
within three years of growth and requires very little water.  It is known 
throughout the world for it ability to slow soil erosion and diminish the 
loss of top soil.  There's plenty on the web about it to research.

Small peasant farmers currently wild harvest the roots to sell them for the 
production of a rich essential oil which is one of three most expensive 
perfume additives when washed into an acetate compound.  FONKOZE, the 
community development bank of the poor, are associated with a vetivert 
project in Camp Perin, Generatrice Morino, who have a second processing 
facility under construction in Leogane.  They are unique in that they 
circumvent the traditional system of speculators and buy raw vetivert 
directly from the harvestors. It's a unique approach that directly benefits 
the ti peyisan and the environment in a way that kudzu never can.



From: "Emmanuel W. Vedrine" <evedrine@hotmail.com>

"remember the Kreyol expression, 'pongongong"?..."  Well, it might

- "pongongon" is the right Kreyol spelling which would be equivalent to the 
colloquial English idiom, "A pain in the ass"


From: "Calvin F. Bey" <cfbey@erols.com>
I work in Haiti as a part time volunteer agriculturist and I sure do not 
recommend Kudzu, as least the kudzu species that grows in southern US. 
We do know that vetiver can be an excellent crop for soil erosion 
control.  We use it extensively on our Village of Hope site near 
Ganthier(30 miles east of PaP).  Beside stopping erosion, it is equally 
critical to rebuild the soils, especially increasing the organic matter 
content.  For our dry site area, we are finding that jack bean and 
lablab bean are doing best. If you have a wetter area, then velvet bean 
should be tried.  The sites throughout Haiti need cover crops.  The 
shade from the beans themselves can reduce the soil temperature and 
evaporation from the soil.  This will lead to increased productivity.  
The concept of keeping a continuous cover on the land to restore the 
soil is not well known or practiced in Haiti.  We have taken some of the 
worst land in Haiti and made it productive and would like to share our 
knowledge with others.  Anyone wanting more information, please contact 
me.   Calvin Bey    cfbey@erols.com


From: Arlin Hunsberger <nhuns@npcc.net>

I know that in l963 kudzu was planted and grown in the North of Haiti not
very far from Cape Haitian. It was planted on a very steep hillside in an
attempt to stem soil erosion. Erosion from the hillside was threatening
buildings at the bottom of the hill. The kudzu  garden was fenced and 
protected from cattle grazing and did take hold and spread. It eventually
crossed small ditches, that had been formed after heavy storms, and put
many small roots down into the remaining soil.After several heavy rains I
noticed that where the kudzu  was planted the soil stayed in place and at
the bottom of the hill the area was not damaged. At each side of the kudzu
patch there were significant signs of erosion and much topsoil was found at
the bottom of the hill. Kudzu was harvested from the site and used as
cattle and chicken feed. The harvesting was done by cut and carry method. 

Eventually the fence broke and cattle entered the garden and grazed at
will. After several years the kudzu disappeared completely. I have been
unable to find traces of the plant in that region. 

I am aware that in the Southeastern part of the States kudzu is a problem.
With the less than ideal growing conditions in Haiti for kudzu I can't
imagine that it would be become a problem. The search for cattle grazing
areas with plants that will provide animal feed is a daily chore for owners
of cows, sheep and goats in Haiti. It would be very beneficial if a
spreading vine containing considerable amounts of protein could be found.
This would help with erosion control and also provide excellent 
animal feed. I hope that kudzu is given another try. 

From: Jean Claude <jc_international@yahoo.com>

Nancy Laleau
Why not continue with the planting of NIM (not sure of the splelling)
in Haiti. It is a tree found in Africa. It does not require much care
and has plenty of beneficial properties.


From: LeGrace Benson <legracebenson@clarityconnect.com>

Hard to say what Kudzu do in Haiti.  When I was just little, this was back
in the late 1930's, my Uncle Erni got some kudzu plants in late October
from the government to help out with his erosion problem. Aunt Lily had
gone down to the store for the afternoon while Erni planted.  When she came
back to fix dinner she couldn't see nothing but big green vines in lumps
all over the place.  She went on over to her sister's house, since there
wern't nothing else to do for it. At about the time to start getting the
ground ready to plant tobacco, the vines dropped their leaves and turned
gray.  Erni was O.K. He'd been able to cut something of a path through to
the privy, but that tired him out so much he decided not to hack away any
more of it. He used up all the lard and cornmeal, and told Lily when she
found him that kudzu wont half bad with a little hot pepper vinegar. I
think he sold that farm to the CCC or something and moved up north to
Virginia. That's just part of what I know for sure about kudzu. LeGrace