Working with the goal of a data-driven province for sound land use and planning for agri-environmental development, through the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA-BSWM), with the strong support and in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office I (DA-RFO I) and Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, a signing of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was held today, 30 November 2023, at the Ilocos Norte Capitol, to implement and officially commence the LUAPADI Project.

The MOA Signing between key officials from the DA-BSWM, DA-RFO I, and PLGU Ilocos Norte, Director Gina P. Nilo, Ph.D., Director Annie Q. Bares, Ph.D., and Hon. Matthew Joseph M. Manotoc, respectively signified their commitment and support to the success of the Project. The activity was also attended by other key officials and representatives from the said groups who have a significant role in the project implementation.

The Land Use Assessment for Potential Agri-industrial Development and Investment (LUAPADI) is a province-wide project that aims to identify and provide an inventory of soil and water resources and evaluate them for their optimal yet sustainable utilization. This kind of project is helpful for policy formulation in land use decision-making addressing conflict interests for the expansion of food production, human settlement, and industrialization, requisite to the country’s economic development. An initial and vital step to the project is the identification of prime agricultural lands, suitability for crop cropping system, and interplay of biodiversity and land degradation. Thus, the LUAPADI project, through the ALMED, is the DA-BSWM’s response to preserving prime agricultural land and sustainable land management, mitigating the effect of changing climate, and combating land degradation and desertification at a provincial scale.

With the MOA Signing on the LUAPADI Project and the soil laboratory expansion including capacity enhancements, the Province of Ilocos Norte is set to achieve its goal for sound land use and planning for agri-environmental development by conserving, preserving, and adhering to sustainable management of soil and water resources for agriculture.

On 29 November 2023, Director Nilo. led the BSWM Team from the Laboratory Services Division (LSD) and Agricultural Land Management and Evaluation Division (ALMED) to visit and evaluate the following laboratories: Ilocos Norte Agricultural and Fisheries Extension Center (INAFEC), National Tobacco Administration (NTA) – Batac Branch, and Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU). These laboratories are potential partners in terms of providing quality data and making use of harmonized soil test methods.