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DA pushes for nationwide soil health mapping

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture on Thursday said it is pushing for a nationwide soil health mapping to properly assess the condition of farmlands in all regions.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the Bureau of Soils and Water Management will spearhead this endeavor under the leadership of Director Silvino Q. Tejada.
“This will help us come up with right decisions regarding food and agribusiness investments,” Alcala said.
The Secretary has already tasked all regional field offices (RFOs) to use their savings to fund the activity.
In fact, the RFOs have already started soil health mapping. RFOs 2 and 5 have already completed their activities and will come-up with a report thereon.
According to Alcala, Filipino farmers are expecting the BSWM will continue and broaden its programs and services, among them the Water Resources Management Program.
The said program covers the implementation of Small-Scale Irrigation Projects (SSIPs) such as Small Water Impounding Projects (SWIPs), Diversion Dams (DDs), Small Farm Reservoirs (SFRs) and Shallow Tube Wells (STWs).
Among the major accomplishments of the BSWM in 2014 is the National Master Plan for Small-Scale Irrigation Projects, CY 2014-2022, which includes the Watershed Management Component.
“We focus on the development of small irrigation systems not only because they are cheaper to build and manage, but also as part of our commitment to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change,” Alcala said.
He added, 100 agro meteorological stations have already been established nationwide, which enables us to use gathered data on rainfall, temperature, wind speed and direction, sunshine duration and soil temperature and moisture in daily decisions that have to made in the fields, especially in preparing for calamities.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.