In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the year 2020 is considered the most challenging year worldwide. A complete turnaround happened in every industry.

This year will be even more challenging. Adapting to new normal will be the key consideration in every project activity. Workplaces have adapted to follow restrictions regarding social distancing to protect employees’ health and safety and to prevent community transmission. Virtual meeting platforms are being used on consultations with stakeholders, while all field work activities are being carried out with utmost safety by following the health protocols in every LGUs.

In spite of all the challenges, the agriculture industry still managed to grow by 0.7% in the 3rd quarter of 2020, according to the Department of Agriculture. In order to continuously deliver the target outputs of every project, a catch-up plan has been designed and added on top of the regular targets for the year 2021. Part of this is exploring the possibilities of strategic alternatives to expedite project implementations and have a greater chance to achieve positive outputs.

Highlights of 2020 Accomplishments per Project

Review/ Updating of the Network of Protected Areas for Agriculture and Agro-Industrial Development (NPAAAD) and Strategic Agriculture and Fisheries Development Zone (SAFDZ)

Calendar Year 2020 is the third year of implementation of the project. It accomplished one hundred eighty five (185) municipalities/cities delineated for Specific Land Use/Vegetation. Four (4) Orientation- Consultation and Participatory Mapping were conducted covering 7 provinces with 96 Municipalities/Cities. But only 53 municipalities had given their Proposed Municipal/City Land Use Plan Maps (shapefile) which will be the reference for the delineation of NPAAAD and SAFDZ Maps.

Field mapping is necessary to validate the land use, however due to the increasing cases of COVID-19, fieldwork was carried out only in Benguet and Ifugao.  As of December 29, 2020, five hundred twenty-eight (528) municipalities/cities for CY 2018 and one hundred sixty-eight (168) municipalities/cities for CY 2019 were delineated for the finalization of SAFDZ Maps.

Strengthening and Mainstreaming the Evaluation Mechanism on Land Use Reclassification (SEMLUR)

One of the major accomplishments of the project is the establishment of workstation and data center for Land Use Reclassification using the NTECLUM Database Management System (NDMS) developed by GSITD. This NDS is enhanced and continuously updated for LUR and CMR.

Adjusting to the New Normal scheme, the NTECLUM through its Secretariat conducted eight (8) virtual meetings for the cascading of new issued and approved guidelines pertaining to DA-AO No. 18, series of 2020. In the later part of the year, several online discussions with Regional Counterparts were facilitated in response to urgent directives from the Office of the Secretary, particularly on the participation of the DA in the conversion process and also participated different skeleton workforce meeting with partners on the RFOs and other concerned staff/personnel.

The Compendium/Handbook of Legal Bases for Land Use Reclassification and Land Use Conversion has been finalized for publication, and targeted for dissemination to intended users/recipients throughout the country.

National Mapping, Characterization and Development of Spatial Database for the Coastal Areas Affected by Salinity

CY 2020 is the last year of implementation of this project to complete the mapping of 40 targeted coastal provinces affected by salinity in the Philippines. However, all fieldwork activities, specifically soil sampling and key informant interviews were not carried out due to the pandemic. Hence a catch-up plan was proposed for 2021, targetting the remaining 5 provinces namely: Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Misamis Oriental, and Negros Oriental.

Salinity maps and reports per province are the expected outputs of this project. As of December 29, 2020, nine (9) salinity maps and printed reports are completed and for submission to its corresponding PLGUs. Four (4) provinces are without laboratory results yet, twenty two (22) are on-going mapping by the GSITD, and five (5) provinces are the remaining 2020 Catch-up target. The developed spatial database, Saline-Affected Areas Database Information System (SADIS v1.1) is functional and continuously being updated.

Soil\Land Resources Evaluation and SAFDZ-CLUP Integration of the Municipality of Pamplona, Camarines Sur

There are 16 LMU’s identified in the municipality of Pamplona, validated in the field, and delineated.  The project come up with six (6) land factor and four (4) decision Maps at a scale of 1:25,000. 

Suitability Classification for alternative crops preferred by LGU was likewise prepared for their guidance.

To date, Packaging of the Technical Report of the project is now 100% accomplished.  There are six (6) copies of the technical report initially printed and 10 digital copies in CD format, prepared for turnover to the LGU.