THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

Agri chief asks Soils Bureau to establish more state-of-the-art soil labs nationwide

Author: DA Communications Group | 2 June 2021

Through the recently approved National Soil Health Program with P523.575-million funding, Agriculture Secretary William Dar directed the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to set up modern and efficient national and regional soil laboratories.

“We want to have the regional laboratories including of course the national soils laboratory to be state-of-the-art. Let’s see to it that there is full automation para yung pagsisilbi natin sa mga magsasaka ay mas mapabilis at mas marami pang magagawa,” Secretary Dar said during the BSWM’s 70th anniversary celebration on June 2, 2021.

The National Soil Health Program to be implemented in 2021–2023 by the BSWM has four project components: 1) institutionalizing national soil monitoring and rejuvenation program, 2) soil health monitoring through mobile soils laboratory, 3) strengthening of partnerships with various stakeholders, and 4) production and improvement in soil analysis.

Since his return as DA chief, Secretary Dar has been advocating for the National Soil Health Program and rainwater harvesting that will address concerns on crop productivity and water availability as soil and water are crucial elements in agriculture.

“Let’s generate funding for these key areas that we would like to pursue para mas marami pa tayong magawa at maging sustainable, maging resilient ang Philippine food systems,” he said.

He added that without rich soil and enough water, even the best varieties cannot provide the expected yield.

“BSWM was founded to protect the soil as one goal and to sustain its productivity. Therefore, over the period of 70 years, we have developed technologies that can help DA promote the mantra of our secretary, resilient agriculture providing accessible food for everyone,” BSWM Director and Asian Soil Partnership Chairperson Sonia Salguero said.

Secretary Dar said the BSWM must continue to enhance and look at the synergy between the natural resources or ecosystem and that of food systems or production areas.

He also instructed the bureau to encourage local government units in large provinces to establish their own modern soil laboratories to multiply the effort being done by DA and to serve more farmers nationwide.

Secretary Dar congratulated the BSWM for the 70 years of service and for taking the lead in the Asian Soil Partnership Governance for 2021-2023.

“Being the nationally mandated agency in the sustainable management of soil and water resources for agriculture, the BSWM has indeed made a difference in the lives of Filipino farmers and the fisherfolk,” he said. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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