The DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA-BSWM) initiated the annual celebration of the Philippines for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) World Soil Day 2023, themed “Soil and Water: A Source of Life,” on December 5, 2023, at the DA-BSWM’s Fernando H. Lopez Convention Hall.

As the UN-FAO emphasized, World Soil Day is an annual observance dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural environment. It serves as a platform to promote the significance of soil in supporting life on Earth and it aims to educate individuals and communities about the essential roles that soil plays in agriculture, food security, biodiversity, climate regulation and more.

The year’s event was attended by the Department of Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr., Senior Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban, FAO Representative in the Philippines Lionel Henri Valentin Dabbadie, various agricultural sectors, state university and colleges, high school students and teachers, and the DA-BSWM Family.

During the morning Program, the event started with the unveiling of the World Soil Day 2023 Drop Down Banner and the welcome message of the DA-BSWM Director Gina Parde-Nilo. As Director Nilo welcomed all the participants, she emphasized the important role of the DA-BSWM in nurturing the soil and water of the Philippines. While Senior Undersecretary Panganiban and FAO Representative Mr. Dabbadie complemented the message of Director Nilo that fostering and championing the cause of sustainable agriculture resonate deeply the shared vision for better soil and water health.

During the afternoon Program, the Department of Agriculture Secretary Laurel delivered his message for the DA-BSWM. Secretary Laurel highlighted the collaborative efforts of DA-BSWM with farmers and stakeholders on preserving and enhancing the soil and water health and supply. He commended everyone’s dedication to making the soil and water health better as it is the source of our food that soil is basic to agriculture.

Prior to the formal Program last December 5, various activities were also conducted including the National Photo Competition where 219 submissions were received, Poster Making Competition where various high school students participated, the 1st Soil and Water to Plate Cooking Competition, and the 1st World Soil Day Jingle Composition.

The DA-BSWM commemoration of the World Soil Day 2023 showcases the country’s determination to take strides towards a healthier and more productive agriculture sector. It also underscores the Philippines’ support for FAO’s objective in recognizing soil and water as a crucial national and global asset.