Agriculture stakeholders and experts must share their research and development works on effective soils and water management to help in managing and developing soil rejuvenation programs for the country, according to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.
“Provide data on soil and water management and develop soil rejuvenation programs that our regional field units [RFUs] can benefit from,” Alcala instructed all researchers of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) during the celebration of the agency’s 64th anniversary. BSWM is attached to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Now that the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration has officially declared the occurrence of El Niño until the end of the year, Alcala tasked the BSWM to closely coordinate with DA-RFUs for a more effective implementation of soil and water management programs, including the dissemination of information on how to save water.
In addition, Alcala called on Small Water Impounding System Associations (SWISA) officers to religiously participate in water harvesting every time the rain falls, and to regularly check the canals for leakages in the small water impounding projects so as to prevent water wastage.
Noting BSWM’s crucial role in providing interventions to areas that have scarce supply, Alcala directed BSWM Director Silvino Tejada to organize and implement water-saving programs in the small water impounding projects.
“Let’s try to utilize the technology we have on hand, such as solar water pumps and windmills where available,” he said.
“At the end of the day, hindi maaabot ng Pilipinas ang kasapatan sa pagkain, at ang pinapangarap na pagbabago ng buhay ng mga magsasaka’t mangingisda kung wala ang BSWM [the Philippines cannot achieve food security and its farmers and fisher folk cannot dream of progress if there is no BSWM],” Alcala added.
During the event, Alcala and Tejada signed the Soil and Water Resources Research and Development Roadmap for 2016-2022.
BSWM was established six and a half decades ago with the vision of being a frontrunner in research and policy-making body in the soils and water management.
In particular, the agency has started to adopt sustainable and inclusive Agri-Pinoy approach through research, technology dissemination, and other services, and has also consistently supported DA’s banner programs in rice, corn, organic agriculture, and high-value crops. It continuously undertakes research and technology development that aims to preserve, conserve and enrich the country’s soil and water resources.
For her part, Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, vows to support programs and initiatives to preserve the country’s soil and water resources, saying that she will extend full support to allotting budget for soil mapping and rain water harvesting projects in 2016.
Villar urged Alcala and Tejada to defend well their proposed projects for soil and water resources at the Lower House and the Senate, so they could secure the needed budget.
In her speech, Villar said she has been advocating and funding waste composting projects in Las Piñas, where households recycle 75 percent of their food and kitchen wastes, transforming and processing them into 55 tons of organic fertilizers every month.
She said her family-owned Camella donates the composting facilities in Las Piñas and other Camella housing villages in the country.
“We need to preserve and conserve our soil resources for future generations. We did not inherit the earth’s resources for our own, but merely borrowed them from our children,” she said.