Sus­tain­abil­ity of soil and water re­sources

Agriculture - - Contents -

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

pipe­lines.

“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.

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