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Senator Villar's speech during the launch of International Year of Soils

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

Maraming salamat sa imbitasyon para ako ay maging bahagi ng campaign launch of the International Year of Soils at ng inyong selebrasyon ng Farmers’ and Fisher folk's Month.

Ang pagdeklara ng 2015 bilang International Year of Soils was done by the United Nations General Assembly, through the Food and Agriculture Organization or FAO. And it aims to raise awareness of the importance of soils for food security and essential eco-system functions.

At siyempre dito sa Pilipinas, pinangungunahan ng Department of Agriculture at Bureau of Soils and Water Management ang pakikiisa natin sa FAO at sa buong mundo. Napakaimportante sa atin na maging aktibo tayo sa implementation ng campaigns during the International Year of Soils, lalong lalo na dahil ang Pilipinas ay isang agricultural country. We depend largely on soils for our produce or crops.

The Bureau of Soils and Water Management’s campaign “Save Our Soils” encourages all stakeholders to take an active role in soil conservation and management. 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.

As FAO Director General Jose Graziano da Silva cited: “We need healthy soils to achieve our food security and nutrition goals, to fight climate and to ensure overall sustainable development."

What should alarm us are the threats to healthy soils. Unang-una na diyan ang soil degradation na umaabot sa 33% globally. Ang ilan sa mga dahilan ng pagkasira ng lupa ay erosion, acidification, chemical pollution, at iba pa. There is an urgent need to reduce soil degradation and restore degraded land. Kaya dapat natin maki-cooperate sa Bureau of Soils and Water Management to save our soils.

Marami rin naman paraan para ma-restore to their original healthy state ang mga lupa, Iba-iba man ang tawag sa mga concepts or processes - agro-ecology, progressive or sustainable farming – iisa lang naman ang goal natin: Preservation and Conservation of our resources for the future generation, especially soil, which is a non-renewable resource. Katulad nga ng nasabi ko kanina, maraming paraan at isa diyan ang crop rotation at intercropping ng ating mga magsasaka.

Hindi lang sa frood security, importante ang soil. Alam naman natin na interconnected ang lahat sa ating nature. There is a chain reaction kapag hindi na-maintain ang balance at sustainability. Soils host a quarter of our planet's biodiversity. In the same way that we protect our oceans, we should also save our soils.

Bukod pa diyan, interlinked din ang iba pang social problems at issues na masosolusyunan rin in our bid to save our soils because the sustainable use and management of soils is also linked to poverty reduction, hunger eradication, economic growth, and environmental protection. Dito lang sa Pilipinas, more than two-thirds of our population are involved in agriculture at majority sa kanila ay mahihirap na mga magsasaka. 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.

So I hope, lahat tayo ay magtutulungan at magiging involved ngayong International Year of Soils sa mga activities and advocacies to save our soils. This is for our own benefits, especially the future generation. Let me leave you with a quote that served as my inspiration or motto in my environmental advocacy efforts: "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."

Magandang umaga sa inyong lahat.

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