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DA, BSWM partner to speed agricultural development in Eastern Visayas

By Amelia M. Fermia - Project Assistant III
August 24, 2016

The Department of Agriculture (DA) together with the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) held a joint orientation and technical briefing on the Special Areas for Agricultural Development (SAAD) and Soil Sampling and Testing for Fertility Assessment and Crop Suitability in Northern Samar.

The activities are part of DA and its attached bureau's effort to fulfill Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte's promise of providing available and affordable food for the people and conducting a nationwide soil analysis to determine areas most suitable for rice farming to optimize production with the use of effective soil rehabilitation and fertilization.

According to Geomatics Information Division Chief Engr. Pablo Montalla, the Phase 1 implementation of soil testing will run from August 19 to September 8 in Region VIII covering the provinces of Leyte and Northern Samar that is more than 35,000 hectares of agricultural land.

Northern Samar Gov. Jose L. Ong displayed his mixed reaction regarding the government's travail to develop the Eastern Visayas region which is among the 10 poorest provinces in the country today.

"This event is an opportunity for the province of Northern Samar to increase its economic productivity by working hand in hand with the Department of Agriculture and BSWM, however, I don't know if I should say fortunately or unfortunately our province is included among the 10 poorest provinces kaya tayo kasali sa mga ganitong programs ng bagong administration," Ong said.

To appease the DA-Regional Field Office VIII (DA-RFO VIII) and the Local Government Units (LGUs), BSWM OIC, Director Sonia M. Salguero noted that Eastern Visayas has an estimated 22,000 hectares of rainfed areas which is a big potential in increasing its rice productivity.

"Kami po ay pumunta sa lugar ninyo hindi para sabihing kayo ay mahirap because I don't want to say it at all. Pero ýun pong programa na National Soil Testing and Mapping is not based on the criteria of being the poorest. Ang criteria po dito ay ang potential ng Region VIII na madagdagan ang productivity specially for rice," Salguero underscored.

"As I understand, mayroon po kayong rainfed area na about 22,000 hectares, and you are only cultivating irrigated areas of more than 2,000. Kung ito po ay mabibigyan natin ng karampatang suporta, hindi na po maghahanap si Secretary Piñol ng lugar na mapagkukunan ng bigas para sa lahat," she added.

On the other hand, the BSWM, with counterpart-funding support from the DA-RFO VIII and LGUs has completed soil fertility assessment in Western Samar covering more than 36,000 hectares in the year 2014.

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