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DA-BSWM firms-up sustainable land management practices

By Loraine D. Cerillo - Project Development Officer II
February 24, 2016

SEATED ON THE PRESIDENTIAL TABLE (from left to right) Ms. Evelyn Gatchalian (HLURB), Grace Tena (UNDP), Dr. Silvino Q. Tejada (BSWM Director and GEF 5 National Project Director), Dr. Gina P. Nilo (BSWM), Ms. Nenita Sultan (PLGU Leyte), Mr. Gerardo Bauya (MLGU Abuyog, Leyte) and Ms Jacqueline Lagamon among the GEF 5 technical staff during the Workshop to finalize the SLM Project Results Framework and 2016 Annual Workplan for the implementation of SLM practices to address land degradation and mitigate effects of drought held at the Lewis Grand Hotell in Angeles City, Pampanga on February 22-24, 2016 (Photo Credit: GEF 5 Program Staff)
The presentation of the annual work plan to finalize the implementation of Sustainable Land Use Management (SLM) practices to address land degradation and mitigate effects of drought is a continuing program of the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Soils and Water Management in the recent workshop held at the Lewis Grand Hotel, Angeles City, Pampanga.

The collaboration of the inter-agency project is made possible through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The project is seeking a long-term solution for sustainability of the agricultural lands focusing on the systematic ways to mitigate the effects of drought that has affected the farmers in several regions of the country and the agricultural sector amounting to P4-Billion.

Moreover, 38% or 11.4 million hectares of the Philippine soil is moderately to highly degraded and 45% of arable lands are affected by soil degradation making them less productive due to environmental problems and various human activities and inappropriate agricultural practices.

Comprehensive decision-making, monitoring and compliance system at national and local levels and mobilizing the baseline programme to engineer a paradigm shift from unsustainable to sustainable land use while improving the livelihoods of the farming community will be implemented by the project.

BSWM Director and National Project Director Silvino Q. Tejada explained that BSWM is mandated to advising and assisting the utilization of soils as a vital agricultural resource and formulate measures and guidelines for effective soil resource utilization.

"We have problems to address the health of our soils mostly land degradation which is manifested by the loss of productive top soil through water erosion, loss of soil fertility due to over-cultivation, loss of vegetation cover due to illegal logging and widespread forest tree cutting, and expansion of “slash and burn” agriculture in critical slopes. We need close coordination with other agencies involved in this project to come-up with prompt solutions and actions," Tejada said.

Aside from the 2016 annual work plan, representatives from concerned government agencies like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Forest Management Bureau (DENR-FMB), Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and LGUs who joined the meeting have to finalize the 3-year indicative targets of the program. This action is imperative to promptly respond to this unified call.

"The project involves a number of agencies and LGUs and so, the challenge for us is to plan our courses of action in an effective and coordinated manner," Tejada added.

Significant tools to assess land degradation is generated through initial discussion in the workshop and included in the Annual Work Plan.

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