Sustainability of soil and water resources
FOR THE EFFECTIVE utilization of soil and water resources to attain food security and safety, including environmental stability, there must be clear measures and guidelines to address various concerns.
This was the essence of the speech of Senator Cynthia A. Villar during the 67th anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) in Quezon City recently where she was the guest of honor and keynote speaker.
Senator Villar said the main mandate of the BSWM, which is under the Department of Agriculture (DA), is to formulate necessary measures and appropriate guidelines to address environmental concerns such as land degradation, climate change, and agricultural biodiversity conservation.
“Thankfully, true to its mandate, the BSWM has been on track in ensuring the sustainability of our soil and water resources to first and foremost make sure that there will be enough for crop production so that we have food on our table,” Villar pointed out.
As we all probably know, soil is very important in order to attain maximum crop productivity, and water is equally important, as it provides irrigation to the farmlands.
On the other hand, DA Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol, who was also a keynote speaker, emphasized that there are three factors needed for successful agriculture and greater productivity – soil, sunlight, and water.
“The issue boils down to the availability of one very important factor in agriculture – water, and how efficiently we exploit and manage this very important resource,” he said.
“We have the land, but the issue is providing water there. So, we must think out of the box,” he added.
As this developed, Piñol is pushing for the adoption of the solar-powered irrigation system (SPIS) in the country, which he explained, is much cheaper, faster to put up, allows more rice cropping, and makes rice sufficiency attainable.
Saying that the present conventional system is not enough to supply the country’s farm irrigation needs.
One SPIS facility which has been implemented by the DA is the Caridad Norte and Sur Solar Irrigation System in Llanera, Nueva Ecija, which is said to be the first and biggest of its kind in Luzon.
The project was completed through the efforts of DA-RFO 3 and constructed and installed by Bacolod City-based R.U. Foundry and Machine Shop Corporation (RUFMSC).
The facility is composed of some 140 Lorentz solar panels, a 40-horsepower Lorentz submersible pump, state-of-the-art electronic control devices, highlyreliable flow meter gauge, concrete storage tank, and irrigation distribution
“I know that the BSWM is also involved in the implementation of small-scale (solar) irrigation projects through the technical assistance they extend to small water irrigation system associations in all the regions. It is really a big help in areas not served by large-scale irrigation systems,” Senator Villar also said.
Solar-powered irrigation systems are designed to help farmers in the remote areas to irrigate their farmland, which will eventually increase their production during the dry months.
Also during the ceremony, Senator Villar likewise expressed her appreciation to BSWM officer-in-charge Angel C. Enriquez for continuously distributing composting facilities for biodegradable wastes or CFBWs.
“You, more than anyone else, know how composting can help restore soil health and biodiversity. This is important,” Villar said, adding that “composting is the best to conserve and keep our soil productive.”
The BSWM, a staff bureau under the DA, is in-charge for the effective and efficient utilization of two vital resources – soil and water.
According to Enriquez, 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 multienvironmental concerns on land degradation, climate change, and agricultural biodiversity conservation.
“When soil and water for agriculture is affected, it will also have a so-called chain reaction, and will also affect many other sectors, and ultimately the lives of the people,” Senator Villar pointed out.
During the celebration, the BSWM also turned over smallscale irrigation projects such as ram pump irrigation systems, solar-powered irrigation systems, and wind pump irrigation systems; and, CFBWs to several beneficiaries.
Exhibit booths were also installed at the main office of the BSWM during the anniversary celebration where different products were displayed like solar-powered equipment and composting facilities.
Senator Cynthia A. Villar says soil is very important in order to attain maximum crop productivity, and so is water as it provides irrigation to the farmlands.
Piñol, together with RUFMSC chairman of the board Ramon Uy Sr., reads an article published in Agriculture Magazine about the benefits of solar-powered irrigation system in relation to the welfare and development of farmers.
Villar inspects the composting facility and solar-powered irrigation system exhibited during the event.
Villar (2nd from left) discusses with (from left) BSWM Director Angel C. Enriquez, Uy Sr., DA Undersecretary for Operations Ariel T. Cayanan, and RUFMSC engineering consultant Fred Lista the benefits of composting facilities.