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The Soil and Water Resources Research Division: Developing Soil and Water Technologies for the Filipino Farmers

By Marcelina Palis – June 05, 2012



Through the years, the Division has given its full support to the implementation of the flagship programs of the Department of Agriculture, e.g. Organic Agriculture Program, Agri-Pinoy Rice and Corn Programs and High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP).

Thirty three (33) strong and dedicated public servants....they comprise the technical and administrative workforce of the Soil & Water Resources Research Division (SWRRD). At the helm of the Division is Dr. Edna D. Samar, who provides the leadership in the execution of the Division’s functions and in the attainment of its goals.

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(Top-right) SSNM field experiment on corn; (Bottom-left) Setting-up of Bio gas; (Bottom-right) Mushroom Cultivation

Being the research arm of the Bureau, the SWRRD leads in the implementation of R and D/E activities of the BSWM. Its prime mandate is focused in the generation of data for the development of soil and water technologies, not only within the Bureau, but also within the Department of Agriculture. Thus, the Division conducted a number of basic and applied researches across a broad range of disciplines including Soil Biology, Soil Chemistry, Soil Physics and Mineralogy, Soil Fertility and Fertilizers and Water Resources. In coordination with the three (3) research centers of BSWM, the Division is likewise conducting verification and piloting of economically-viable and environment-friendly technologies that have potentials in improving farm productivity and increasing farmers’ income.

Through the years, the SWRRD has given its full support to the implementation of the flagship programs of the Department of Agriculture, e.g. Organic Agriculture, Agri-Pinoy Rice and Corn Programs, and High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP). Researches on these commodities were focused in developing site-specific nutrient management technologies and in improving existing technologies for upland soils and the strategic zones for agriculture. As value-added components to the Organic Agriculture, SWRRD introduced the Portable Biogas and Mushroom Cultivation technologies to utilize farm wastes and recycle nutrients in their farm and to enable farmers to increase their income.

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Participation to international trainings

SWRRD is active in establishing research linkages and forging partnerships with national and international R and D institutions. These include the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI), the Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO-DENR), UPLB-BIOTECH, and the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS).

R and D personnel are considered the lifeblood of any research organization. Thus, alongside collaborations with R & D institutions, SWRRD personnel participated in training programs, workshops, conferences locally and abroad to strengthen the research capability of the research personnel and to promote to the growth of the R & D system.

The SWRRD conducts in-house review and planning workshop to evaluate and monitor R & D activities to identify and set research priorities. This is an annual activity being undertaken by the Division, as well as the other technical divisions of the Bureau. The objectives, treatments and the design of the different studies are carefully scrutinized by panel of evaluators- mostly coming from the academe, PCAARRD and BAR. Evaluated researches are submitted to the DA-BAR as entry papers to the National Research Symposium.

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SWRRD/E Agenda CY 2011-2016

In addition, the Division spearheads the review and critiquing of research proposals for in-house and foreign funding. For the past years, upstream research proposals were prepared in support of the DA’s program on food security and sustainability.

The Division was recently the recipient of BAR’s IDG program on the procurement and upgrading of new laboratory equipment. This is a PhP 4M grant for the procurement of AAS and UV-Vis to replace the worn-out equipment for the Soil Chemistry Section. Training of personnel as well as the calibration of the equipment are part of the PhP 4M grant. The acquisition of state-of-the-art facilities and equipment is very useful in carrying out researches and on-field studies of research personnel. This is in consonance with the BSWM’s vision to strengthen its research capability to be at par with other R & D institutions.

Research and Development Studies That Won The Best Paper Awards: (BSWM In-house R and D)

Title Author
2009
1. Production of Vermicompost from Various Biodegradable Waste Materials and its Utilization for Vegetable Production (Qualifier in the National Research Symposium organized by the DA-BAR and won a cash prize of PhP 10,000 ) Angelita C. Marcia, Digna R. Allag, and Edna D. Samar
2. Use of Animal Manure and Other Indigenous Resources to Improve Agricultural Production and Conserve the Environment Marcelina J. Palis, Amy O. Yambot, Jacqueline S. Rojales, Celso R. Bersabe, Elvira B. Bayalas, and Alma J. Gonzales
3. Comparative Study on the Response of Sweet Pepper in Different Kinds of Organic fertilizers Under Controlled Conditions in Ultisols Edna D. Samar, Roosbelt P. Creencia, and Irvin K. Samalca
2010
1. Community-Based Watershed Management Approach in Improving Livelihood Opportunities in Selected Areas in the Philippines Gina P. Nilo
2. Community Managed Rainwater Harvesting in Nueva Viscaya: Assessment of the Degradation, Impacts and Options Under Changing Climate Edna D. Samar, Arnulfo B. Gesite, Wilfredo E. Cabezon, and Silvino Q. Tejada
3. ACIAR Ilocos Project: Enhancing Agricultural Production Through Sustainable Use of Shallow Groundwater Samuel M. Contreras
2011
1. Effectiveness of Indigenous Microorganisms (IMO) and Fermented Plant and Fish Extracts as Potential Biopesticides/Biofertilizers for Selected Crops Jacqueline S. Rojales, Amy O. Yambot, Alma J. Gonzales, Jaime Ladanga, and Marcelina J. Palis
2. Comunity- Managed Rainwater Harvesting in Nueva Viscaya: Assessment of the Degradation, Impacts and Options under Changing Climate Edna D. Samar, Henry Cacayan, Arnaldo Alvarez, Arnulfo Gesite, Wilfredo E. Cabezon, and Silvino Q. Tejada
3. Evaluation of the Tolerance of Mungbean Mutants to Acid Soil Conditions Edna D. Samar, Roosbelt P. Creencia, Irvin K. Samalca, Alfonso O. Grafia, Bayani V. Villanueava, and Silvino Q. Tejada
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SWRRD In-House Review and Planning Workshop

The formulation of the Soil and Water Resources Research and Development /Extension (SWRRD/E) Agenda for CY 2011-2016 is an important accomplishment wherein island-wide and national consultations with the academe/ research consortia, DA-RFUs and NGOs were undertaken. Under the leadership of Dr. Edna D. Samar, this document was published which now serves as the blueprint in soil and water resources research, development and extension in the country. The DA-BAR granted PhP 100,000 for the printing and publication of the Soil and Water Resources Research and Development/Extension Agenda 2011-2016.

The division played a pivotal role in compliance to the mandate issued by the Supreme Court to the Department of Agriculture as embodied in G.R. 171947-48 dated February 15, 2011. SWRRD spearheaded the generation of baseline data on the pollution loading from croplands into the Manila Bay, in close coordination with the technical divisions (Water Resources Management, Soil Survey, ALMED, Cartographic Operations and ISRIS as well as Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Bureau of Plant Industry- National Pesticide Analytical Laboratory (BPI-NPAL), Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Sugar Regulatory Authority (SRA) and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA). Last year, the Bureau was a recipient of a PhP 1M fund from DENR-MBCO for the formulation of the DA’s Action Plan for the Updated Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy for 2011-2016 and for the generation of said baseline data.

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Manila Bay Project consultation meeting

In March 2012, the DOST approved a component activity entitled “Application of Nuclear Analytical Techniques for Efficient Nutrient and Irrigation Management and Corn Production” for the R & D program on “Smart Farming-Based Nutrient and Water Management for Rice and Corn Production” in partnership with PNRI and CLSU. This activity will start in September to cover the dry cropping season in selected sites in Luzon. With precision in the quantification of nutrient flows using the nuclear analytical techniques, sound calibration of fertilizer recommendation would be achieved. This study will provide for science-based solutions towards increasing nutrient use efficiency for productivity and environmental sustainability.

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(Right) Technical assistance to OJT students; (Left) Hands-on training on value-added Technologies

The Division likewise provides front-line services to its various clients. Service functions such as biological analyses of soil and water samples are available to interested parties. Upon request/invitation of LGU’s and other agencies within the DA umbrella, technical staff of the Division can serve as resource persons in seminars, fora and as trainors in training programs for the farmers. Students from various schools can also avail of the Division’s on-the-job training program, especially in the conduct of their thesis/dissertations.

The Soil and Water Resources Research Division always strive for research excellence in soil and water resources management and utilization. With a cadre of dedicated personnel armed with a commitment to translate research results to tangible accomplishments, the Division has evolved into one of the most dynamic divisions of the Bureau of Soils & Water Management. With its research programs geared towards the development and generation of soil and water technologies, and guided by the BSWM’s mission and vision, we can proudly say that SWRRD has contributed, in its own little way, in making the lives of farmers better through R & D.





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