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Island-wide technical briefing and consultation for the Local Government Units (LGU) on BSWM programs and projects

By Pett P. Ocampo
October 16, 2017

You all know that the Bureau of Soils and Water being a staff bureau under the Department of Agriculture is in-charge for the effective and efficient utilization of two vital resources, and that is soil and water. Do you think your rice will grow without the soil and water? You help me answer my question, these are two vital resources that is needed for agri-development. And that’s why you and I are here and we want to hear your suggestions.” Thus was the request of the Dir. Angel C. Enriquez, OIC Director of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) to all partners in the Local Government Units and DA-Regional Field Offices’ Provincial and Municipal Agriculture Officers during the Island-wide Technical Briefing and Consultation for the Local Government Units (LGU) on BSWM Programs and Projects. This first ever briefing and consultation of a national government agency like the BSWM to reach out to regional partners under her leadership was conducted for the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao Clusters (Clusters 1-3 respectively).

Soil and water being basic to agriculture prompted and inspired Dir. Enriquez to come up with this idea and make this undertaking a venue to encourage our partners to effectively and efficiently utilize the two vital resources. The BSWM is the only government agency mandated to formulate measures and guidelines for the effective utilization of soils and water resources as vital agricultural resources to attain food security and safety, environmental stability through soil and water resources-based adaptation and mitigation measures that address multi-environmental concerns on land degradation, climate change, and agricultural biodiversity conservation.

A total of 748 participants nationwide attended the event who composed of Mayors, Provincial and Municipal Agriculturists, and focal persons of Local Government Units. For the Luzon Cluster, a total of 278 participants attended, representing 26 provinces and 210 municipalities from CAR to Region IV-A which was held at Clark, Pampanga, on August 8-10. For the Visayas Cluster, a total of215 participants attended, representing 24 provinces and 158 municipalities from Regions IV-B to VIII and held at Alta Cebu Resort, Cebu City, on September 21-23. And the Mindanao Cluster with a total of 255 participants representing 22 provinces and 180 municipalities from Regions IX to ARMM, conducted at Apo View Hotel, Davao City, on October 3-5, 2017.

Each of the BSWM’s 7 Technical Divisions and 3 Research Centers presented their functions and mandates.

The Water Resources Management Division headed by Engr. Teresita SA Sandoval capsulized its task to harness and conserve rainfall and run-off water and ground water recharge for farm use as component of sustainable land management program and thereby contribute to the attainment of food security for the country. They also coordinate the implementation of Small Scale Irrigation Projects (SSIPs) with the DA-RFOs which have been proven very effective during El Niňo events.

The Agricultural Land Management and Evaluation Division headed by Mr. Elmer B. Borre, presented its mandate to evaluate the utilization and management of the network of protected areas for agriculture and agro-industrial development or NPAAAD and their expertise to provide technical assistance to LGUs and decision makers for the judicious land utilization on Municipal Land Resources Evaluation and Integration of Strategic Agriculture and Fisheries Development Zones (SAFDZ) to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) and Land Use Assessment for Potential Agri-Environmental Development and Investment; Crop Suitability Assessment; and technical support and services on matters related to land use reclassification and other land use matters.

Engr. Samuel M. Contreras of the Soil Conservation and Management Division informed the participants of its mandate to provide leadership in the conservation and management of soils for sustainable agricultural development and rehabilitation of degraded uplands and hilly lands. He expounded on harvest/crop removal and soil erosion as the most common cause of land degradation in our country that pose detrimental effects to soil physico-chemical and biological properties resulting to fertility decline.

The Soils Survey Division under Mr. Dominciano D. Ramos, Jr., emphasized on its mandate to facilitate the development and implementation of new technologies to gather, interpret and deliver soil survey information to its diverse applications. He added that the Division is committed to provide primary soil resources information for agricultural development planning, policy formulation and research and has expanded its mandate to accommodate current and emerging agro-environmental concerns as they impact and relate to the sustainability of the country’s soil resources for agricultural production and provision of its ecosystem services.

The Geomatics and Soil Information Technology Division under Engr. Pablo M. Montalla stressed on their mandate to generate geospatial data and conduct geospatial analysis of BSWM’s map outputs for agricultural development planning, research, and policy formulation to assist the Department of Agriculture and other stakeholders on their requirements for Geographic Information System and spatial data and be the primary source of soil and water knowledge of the country.

Dr. Gina P. Nilo of the Laboratory Services Division summarized its mandate of providing analytical services of soil, water, plant, and fertilizer samples to all clients at the highest quality and accuracy and oversee the establishment and operation of all Soils Laboratories in the country. She stressed its role as your partners to better farming enterprise by providing assistance not only on soil and water analysis but also on technologies which improve soil fertility and maximized land use. The Office is ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited since June 15, 2016.

Dr. Edna DL. Samar as Chief of the Soil and Water Resources Research Division, presented a detailed but brief information on its mandate to conduct upstream researches on soil and water management technologies and undertake targeted studies for sustainable agricultural productivity. They take the lead on an integrated multi-disciplinary research and development for sustainable soil/land and water use to support long-term productivity of the natural resources.

The BSWM maintains three National Soil and Water Resources Research Centers located in areas covering different Pedo Ecological Zones namely: the Hillylands in Brg. Cuyambay, Tanay Rizal with Dr. Gavino Isagani P. Uriza as its Center Chief; the lowland-uplands in San Ildefonso, Bulacan with its Center Chief Ms. Mercedes S. Fernando; and the highlands with its Center Chief Mr. Henry A. Apolinares. Each of them presented the Center’s mandate of being the BSWM demonstration centers that showcase the different soil and water generated technologies of the BSWM in support to the DA’s food security and agricultural sustainability program. With the Centers as the major facility development and promotion hubs of researches on soil and water resources, development continue towards poverty alleviation and the attainment of the nation’s food security program.

Mr. Bertolio P. Arellano as the bureau’s Focal Person on the Organic Agriculture Program-Provision of Agricultural Equipment and Facilities (OAP-PAEF) underscored the role of the BSWM in implementing the National Organic Agriculture Program nationwide. As one of the implementing agency of the Department, it shall focus on organic soil amendment research; production and utilization; and soil fertility management in organic production systems.

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