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Soft launching of BSWM initiatives on the upgrading of Soils Laboratory on June 4, 2014 during the 63rd Anniversary

By Maribel R. Jalalon – June 09, 2014


The Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) celebrated its 63rd Anniversary last June 4-5, 2014 with the theme “BSWM One with DA: Bridge the gap. Touch the hearts. Focus our minds. Deliver Results.”

One of the highlights of the celebration was the Soft Launching of BSWM Initiatives on the Upgrading of Soils Laboratory, namely;

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Dr.Silvino Q. Tejada delivering his opening remarks during the soft launching of BSWM Initiatives on the Upgrading of Soils Laboratories.
  1. Soil Health Card by International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics;
  2. Soil Fertilizer and Lime Calculator by ACIAR Project “Watershed Evaluation for Sustainable Use of Sloping Agricultural Land in the Southern Philippines – SMCN/2009/031
  3. Organic Agriculture Program and the Philippine Standards on Organic Fertilizers; and
  4. Mobile Soil Clinic

The soft launching was led by Dr. Silvino Q. Tejada, the Director of BSWM, and Dr. Gina P. Nilo, the OIC Assistant Director. The event wasattended by ICRISAT Representative, BSWM Focal Person of Organic Agriculture Program, LGUs, Farmer Beneficiaries, Regional Soils Laboratories and other agencies from the Department of Agriculture.

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Dr.Pardhasaradhi explaining the significance of SHC

The Soil Health Card (SHC). Dr. G Pardhasaradhi, the Manager of Soil and Plant Analytical Laboratory of ICRISAT, turned-over the SHC to Director Silvino Q. Tejada. And together with Dr. Gina Nilo, they distributed the SHCs to farmer beneficiaries namely: VioletaRayos, UldaricaLlanes, Alberto Rosales, DaniloCanosa, Marisa Pestanos, DionisiaVejir, NeliaPanganiban, Emmanuel Querubin, EraldwinDimaiilig and Melanie Macasaet.

The importance of SHC was presented by Dr. G Pardhasaraadhi. In his presentation, he explained that the card is developed to assist farmers in providing site specific soil fertility status of farms and soil test based required nutrient and fertilizer information for the crops grown in the area. He also mentioned that the card will serve as a tool to technicians, planners and LGUs in assessing farm status and guide in the determination of crop suitability.

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The farmer beneficiaries who received the Soil Health Card together with Dr.Tejada, Dr.Nilo, and Dr.Pardha.

SHC is one of the components of YamangLupa Program (YLP) which is being implemented by BSWM. This program is a partnership between ICRISAT, BAR, HVCDP, BSWM, BPI, ATI and LGUs with three (3) pilot areas located in Luzon (Quezon Province), Visayas (Samar and Leyte) and Mindanao (Zamboanga City). One of the major activities of the program is the collection of soil samples from these pilot areas. The samples will then be analyzed in the BSWM laboratory to determine their nutrient content. The resulting data will be interpreted and processed and will eventually be transformed into a Soil Health Card.

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The Fertilizer and Lime Calculator was presented by Dr. Gina P. Nilo, Chief of the Laboratory Services Division and ACIAR Project Leader. Dr.Nilodiscussed the goal and objectives of the project, to wit; a) to adjust soil fertility levels to an acceptable degree for cropping; b) to maintain soil fertility at adequate levels by replacing nutrients removed as harvested product or lost from the soil during the cropping cycle; and c) to raise pH to a suitable level for the next crop.

Furthermore, she talked about the components of the calculator, the necessary information to supply and the basic operation. She also mentioned that the hands-on training and demonstration of Fertilizer and Lime Calculator in July 2014 will be led byDr.Anthony Ringrose-Voase, the Overall Project Leader of ACIAR-SMCN/2009/031.

The Organic Agriculture Program and the Philippine National Standards (PNS) on Organic Fertilizer was presented by Ms. Karen Salandanan, BSWM Focal Person of Organic Agriculture Program. She discussed the creation of the Republic Act 10068 also known as “Organic Agriculture Act of 2010”. She further reiterated the PNS or the standard applies to organic fertilizers, compost/soil conditioner, microbial inoculants, plant growth regulator, and organic plant supplements. She also mentioned the support of Organic Agriculture Program for the upgrading of soils laboratories nationwide particularly, the purchasing of new major equipments in response to the increasing demand for microbial identification, heavy or toxic metals determination, and many more to ensure the quality of organic inputs and produce.

Another BSWM initiative launched during the anniversary celebration is the Mobile Soil Clinic Projects of BSWM, NFA and ITCAF.

Dr. Gina Nilo, Chief of the Laboratory Services Division provided an overview of the mobile soil clinic projects.

The Mobile Soil Clinic’s main objective is to increase corn production through sufficient and balanced fertilization as a result of the soil test made by the mobile soil test clinic. It also aims to establish a knowledge management system for a monitoring and evaluation system to assess program implementation activities. In addition, it aims to increase agricultural productivity through sustainable soil and water health management: a pilot implementation of ICT-enabled Mobile Soil Clinic in Regions 2 and 10.

Ms. Ailene Corpuz of National Food Authority presented the project“Mobile Soil Test Clinic to Enhance Farm Productivity”. In her presentation she pointed out that the general objective of the project is to increase corn production through sufficient and balanced fertilization as a result of the soil test made by the mobile soil test clinic using a motorcycle.

Dr. HonorioFlameño of DA-ITCAF presented the project “Establishing A Knowledge Management System to Institutionalize at the Central and Local Government Level A Monitoring and Evaluation System to Assess Program Implementation Activities.” Dr. Flameno explained that this project will focus on strengthening institutional capacities and network, particularly at planning, policy-making and program implementation levels; and developing relevant information on location-specific nutrient management at the grass root levels.

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