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Vetiver grass planting starts at Fagalii river

A Government project to address soil erosion along river banks has begun planting a grass species along the Fagalii river banks as part of a trial.

Staff with the Ridge to Reef Project, which is part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), planted the vetiver grass on the banks of Fagalii river a fortnight ago.

Vetiver grass is seen as a high-quality erosion control plant, especially in warmer climates, with the roots growing downwards between two to four meters.

The planting of the grass along the Fagalii river banks is the first trial for this type of grass in Samoa. If the project becomes successful, this will replace the development of river walls as used in many Pacific Islands. 

The Ridge to Reef Project Manager, Fata Niuava Lemoa Leatiogie Malolo Funefeai, told the Samoa Observer that the former Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Susuga Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau has given the grass species the thumbs up. 

He urged the Government and the private sector to promote vetiver grass as a solution for the river bank’s stabilisation and erosion control purposes, while expressing the importance of pursuing soft solutions to cater for landslides, sediment control and river retention wall. 

Leusovai (the Samoan name for vetiver) is a simple, practical, inexpensive, low maintenance and very effective means of soil and water conservation, sediment control, land stabilization and rehabilitation.

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