“Underscoring the essence of soil to humans, the mother of agriculture, where we grow our food, where soil is always one with nature.”

“Keep Soil Alive, Protect Soil Biodiversity” is but a fitting theme for World Soil Day 2020. An annual event spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) in partnership with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO).

The BSWM, is the nationally mandated agency on sustainable management of soils and water resources for agriculture. Over the years, the agency advocates good soil conservation technologies and practices to improve soil health in various regions of the country.

The WSD which is an international day to celebrate Soil was recommended by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2002. Under the leadership of the Kingdom of Thailand and within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership, FAO has supported the formal establishment of WSD as a global awareness raising platform. The FAO Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day in June 2013 and requested its official adoption at the 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013 the UN General Assembly responded by designating 5 December 2014 as the first official World Soil Day. (http://www.fao.org/world-soil-day/about-wsd/en/).

Highlighting the event is the signing of declaration of support to the “Philippine Celebration of World Soil Day” every 5th of December. This shall be endorsed to the Office of the President with the hope that funds will be provided thereof to the Philippine Soil Partnership through DA-BSWM.

A nationwide photography contest is one way to create awareness of the soil’s importance. For this years’ winners, 1st Place is Mr. Keirvy Jhon P. Lao; 2nd Place is Mr. Mark Kevin Badayos; 3rd Place is Mr. Christian T. Galgao; and for the People’s Choice Award is Mr. Arwin O. Arribado.

DA-BSWM OIC-Director welcomed the Undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture Engr. Ariel T. Cayanan and Ms. Jasmine Magtibay from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Video Messages were given by Ms. Tamara Palis-Duran, United Nations FAO Assistant Representative for Programmes; Hon. Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco, Speaker of the House of Representatives; and the Hon. Senator Cynthia A. Villar, Senate Committee Chair on Agriculture and Food.

For the afternoon session, presentations were, Overview of the National Soil Conservation Roadmap presented by Engr. Samuel M. Contreras, Chief of the Soil Conservation and Management Division; Revised World Soil Charter and the Challenges in the Philippines, Dr. Edna D. Samar, Chief of the Soil and Water Resources Research Division; and Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management, Ms. Jacqueline S. Rojales, Section Chief, Soil Biological Resources Management Section.

OIC-Assistant Director Junel B. Soriano thanked each and every one who took part in the success of the celebration and stressed on the BSWM’s commitment to continually support and do our share on the ground to achieve our goals.