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DA-BSWM promotes biodiversity-friendly agricultural practices

By Loraine D. Cerillo - Project Development Officer II
March 07, 2016

SEATED (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Ms Charo Ampil (DA-PRS), Dr. Edna Samar (DA-BSWM), Mr. Ben-Hur Viloria (BPP-PMU), Assistant Regional Director Maria Febe Orbe (Region XI) and BPP-TWG Chairman Engr. Samuel Contreras during the 2-Day Consultative Workshop on Biodiversity-Friendly Agricultural Practices (BDFAP) along with other participants from the Local Government Units (LGUs) of Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte and Davao Oriental, DENR XI, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), Bureau of Agricultural Research, Agricultural Training Institute (ATI-XI),DA-Regional Field Office- XI (DA-RFO II) held at the at Rose Mandaya Hotel in Davao City.
The Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Soils and Water Management recently participated in a 2-day Consultative Workshop on Biodiversity-Friendly Agricultural Practices (BDFAPs) as one of the active agencies promoting environmental protection and conservation together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture's attached agencies, Bureaus and Regional Field Unit of Region XI at Rose Mandaya Hotel in Davao City.

The existence of many different kinds of plants and animals in the environment are threatened by human activities as evidenced by urbanization, deforestation, climate change, over exploitation of fisheries and marine ecosystems, land conversion and other human activities that need appropriate actions and involvement of the government.

Current threats to biodiversity includes destruction and fragmentation of natural habitats, air, water and soil pollution, climate change, irrational exploitation of biological resources and spread of invasive species.

BSWM Director Silvino Q. Tejada underscored the impacts of mismanagement of agricultural lands and the environment to biodiversity and that therefore, appropriate methods and technologies of good farming practices should be advocated.

"We have lost the popularity of traditional farming practices with the advent of mono-culture to produce specific crops with high demand. That is why soil and water conservation is continuously being promoted by BSWM. We see to it that farmers learn new farming methods and technologies to improve agriculture while ensuring that the existence of equally important living organisms are not being compromised, " said Tejada.

The event was conducted by DA together with DA-Policy Research Services, Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Bureau of Animal Industry, Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS), Bureau of Agricultural Research and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as implementing partners of Biodiversity Partnership Program (BPP) of the DENR.

As author of principles, BDFAP seek to balance production targets while conservation of the natural resources and protection of the environment for the benefit of the future generations is being promoted.

In general, BDFAPs refers to the pattern of farming and fishing decisions and actions that sustainably utilize and conserve biological diversity and its components to satisfy the increasing human needs and to improve livelihood in rural areas while addressing the threats that confront biodiversity.

Moreover, Biodiversity friendly agriculture practice incorporates considerations such as the enhancement of natural plant defence mechanism, soil management- organic soil amendments, use of cover crops, crop rotation, and use disease resistant cultivars that are being pushed by the Agriculture Department.

Several biodiversity friendly agricultural practices were already established and being adopted by farmers such as Integrated Farming System, the use of organic inputs like vermi compost to agricultural farms, Watershed Management cum Rice Terracing, Mulching in ratoon and Organic Farming in Sugarcane farms, Sustainable Upland Farming, Establishment of Marine Protected Areas and the Culture of milkfish using 100% organic feeds.

These agricultural practices are not only considered beneficial among biological entities but also a contributing factor to economic stability by reducing the dependence of farmers to chemical fertilizers and is seen to provide potential income by way of long-term soil fertility through natural systems. In addition, farmers can also manage to have two cropping per year because of abundant water supply through watershed management practice.

According to Engr. Samuel Contreras, Chief of Soil Conservation and Management Division of BSWM and DA-BPPTWG Chairman, these farming practices will uphold the balance in production and conservation that are mutually dependent to sustainable management of agricultural lands and environmental protection.

"Promoting Biodiversity Agricultural Practices not only encompasses environmentally-sound methods to guard other living organisms that share lands and other means to survive with man, this is also our calling to propagate these farming conservation measures, practices and management to reach farmer and fisher folks along with other stakeholders throughout the country," Contreras underlined.

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