Trax Ghana is going to incorporate a new kind of soil erosion control into its projects. In addition to stone bunding and grass stripping with native grasses, Trax will soon introduce its farmers to vetiver grass. Planting and maintaining this kind of grass requires much less physical labor than building stone bunds and is more effective than local grasses. Apart from its benefits for soil conservation, the grass can also be used for making crafts, such as the popular Bolga baskets. This Friday, Trax Ghana’s Director, Mr Vincent Subbey, has purchased and planted the first 1000 mature tillers which are split for planting. They are currently being multiplied by three of Trax’s farmers and will be ready for distribution in June/July 2015.
Trax Ghana has been involved in soil and water conservation measures since its beginning, in 1989. It has traditionally used stone bunding and grass stripping (with native grasses) to prevent the nutritious top soil from being washed away by heavy rains. Building stone bunds, however, is very laborious and stones are not always available. Trax is therefore going to start teaching its farmers how to use vetiver grass as well.
The roots of vetiver grass grow very deep and bind the soil. They thereby prevent soil loss and water runoff. Because of these characteristics, Trax Ghana also has plans to start using it for gulley rehabilitation in general and land rehabilitation in areas affected by artisanal mining.
Land that cannot be used for farming, due to the effects of mining
Vetiver grass also has great potential as fodder for livestock, as pest-control and for use in handicraft production. An increased supply of vetiver grass will also support the local Bolga basket industry. Currently, the demand for Bolgatanga’s hallmark is so great that some of the grass needs to be bought in the South of Ghana.