• Policies eyed for soil, water resources

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    The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) and the Inanglupa Movement will cooperate in enacting policy changes in the Philippines and help protect the country’s precious soil and water resources.

    BSWM Director Dr. Silvino Tejada Jr. and Inang Lupa President Dr. William Dar signed a memorandum of agreement for the conduct of soil mapping activities for small farmers with the aim of improving sustainable agriculture production.

    “The agreement between BSWM and Inang Lupa will have a high impact in making farming more sustainable in the Philippines, and preserving the country’s precious water and soil resources,” said Dar.

    Dar, who headed the India-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics, hopes to bring to the Philippines a wealth of knowledge in soil and water conservation.

    Under the agreement, the BWSM will implement the Yamang Lupa Program activities on soil health mapping and development of soil health cards; spearhead the preparation and coordination of meetings, seminars and workshops on the preparation of policy papers relevant to soil and water resources conservation and management; and coordinate with Inanglupa regarding the conduct of activities for the International Year of the Soil celebration, particularly on the proposed international symposium on soils and food and nutrition security.

    “Yamang Lupa Program will impart knowledge on farming that uses water and soil resources more efficiently,” Dar said.

    For its part, Inanglupa will provide technical assistance on the implementation of the Yamang Lupa Program expansion to include soil health mapping and upgrading of national and regional Soils Laboratory; and assist BSWM in advocating policies and bills in Congress that are relevant to national land use policy, land use conversion, soil and water resources conservation and management and sustainable land management.

    “Policy makers must be made aware of the need to preserve the country’s water and soil resources, and this cooperation between BSWM and Inanglupa is a step in that direction,” Tejada said.

    ICRISAT is known for its Bhoochetana or land rejuvenation approach, which is now being adopted in three pilot regions in the Philippines, covering 30,000 hectares to increase food production and improve the livelihood of poor, rainfed farmers, through sustainable and integrated natural resource management.

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