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BSWM, holds the International Year of Soils (IYS) launch

By Loraine D. Cerillo - Project Development Officer II
June 01, 2015

The Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) holds the campaign launch of the International Year of Soils (IYS) as the focal agency to the declaration of the 68th United Nations General Assembly through Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for year 2015, as the International Year of Soils on May 25. The launch was attended by Senator Cynthia Villar, Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, Undersecretary Emerson Palad, Food and Agriculture Organization Assistant Representative Mr. Aristeo Portugal and former DA Secretary William Dar.

IYS aims to raise awareness of the importance of the soils for food security and essential eco-system functions. It targets to promote the following messages relative to the theme "Healthy Soils for a Healthy Life."

IYS key messages

  • Healthy soils are the basis for healthy food production.
  • Soils are the foundation for vegetation which is cultivated or managed for feed, fiber, fuel and medicinal products.
  • Soils support biodiversity and they host a quarter of the total.
  • Soils help to combat and adapt to climate change by playing a key role in the carbon cycle.
  • Soils store and filter water, improving our resilience to floods and droughts.
  • Soil is a non-renewable resource; its preservation is essential for food security and our sustainable future.

As the focal agency to the IYS, Executive Director Dr. Silvino Q. Tejada formed a task force to promote and localize the campaign. According to him, being the designated lead agency is an opportunity to the BSWM to impart awareness on the importance of the soils to the fellow Filipinos.

"We became abuzz with ideas to fully support IYS and take advantage of whatever degree of appreciation and awareness on soils that we can share and impart to our fellow Filipinos," he said.

Moreover, the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, Senator Cynthia Villar reminded and encourage everyone to take an active part on saving our soils.

"At lahat tayo, no exemption, ay mga stakeholders sa usaping lupa dahil higit sa lahat, nakasalalay diyan ang food security ng ating bansa, because healthy soils are the foundation of food production. It sustains 95 percent of food production, according to FAO," she said.

Misis Hanepbuhay also added that there are interlinked social problems that can be solved through our commitment and involvement to save our soils. She emphasized on the poverty reduction, hunger eradication, economic growth, and environmental protection uplift.

"Healthy soils will not only provide us abundant and nutritious food but, will also increase the farmers' crop yields. With abundant harvest, the economy of Philippines, as an agricultural country, will also grow abundantly. Win-win situation," Villar added.

The production yield of the country is highly dependent to the health of our soils. Healthy soils mean healthy food. And during the launch, Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, sees that the IYS is a catalyst for the stability of the agricultural sector and soil conservation as well as strengthening the national programs.

"As we face the looming challenge of climate change, the need to unify our actions on soil conservation for food and nutrition security has never been more urgent. It is in this context that we must welcome the International Year of Soils as an opportunity to strengthen our national programs and international cooperation on soil conservation, enhancement and utilization," Alcala said.

An exhibit was also set-up during the launch including the different types of soils (Soil Monoliths), IYS Campaign Posters and Relief Models of Guided Farms and Small Scale Irrigation Project (SWIP).

The BSWM is set to campaign and conduct activities that include seminars and workshops, forums, organizing quiz bees and poster making and etcetera in accordance to the Philippine initiatives in support of the IYS. In line with this, the BSWM localize the campaign with the theme Save Our Soils or SOS.

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