Update national soil mapping data to mitigate climate change effects

pakil, laguna

MANILA (July 4, 2016) — In order to prepare the country for the effects of climate change especially on agriculture, newly appointed Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Pinol has ordered the updating of soil analysis data nationwide. 

Pinol said national soil testing and sampling is very vital in determining which region of the country could grow which crop best based on soil components and fertility.

Also, it would effectively guide the DA and the farmers in determining what nutrients are deficient in the soil in specific areas.

“This is critical in determining what kind of soil nutrients or fertilizer should be applied to specific areas thus ensuring productivity,” he stressed.

In his first briefing from officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Pinol said he found out that the soils analysis data used by the Department in waging a war against hunger “were actually gathered over 40 years ago.”

“When the presenter (Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture or AMIA) started showing which areas would be suitable to rubber trees, I knew there was something wrong with the data. Indeed, when I confronted them with questions on the accuracy of their data, they admitted that these are based on soil samplings done in the late 1970s,” he lamented.

Pinol said an official of the Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM) told him that they have been asking for additional budget for the soil mapping but the request was not granted.

In the end, the DA chief said he has instructed the AMIA presenter and BSWM officials to submit an estimated budget requirement for the conduct of a national soil testing so that President Rodrigo Duterte’s order for DA to come up with a “Color Coded Agriculture Guide Map” would be realized during the first 100 days of his term.

Pinol said he has given a time frame of 45 days to complete the soil mapping analysis.

“What many have waited for 40 years to happen will have to be done within that short period of time because when the next planting season comes, I would like the farmers to be able to determine what crops to grow in their farms and what fertilizer to apply and use,” he said.

“Success in agriculture is all about correct data, right strategy, and immediate action. While I have promised them all the funding support, they (concerned DA personnel) need to accomplish the task. I also made it clear that if they fail, they will be asked to leave government. That is how it is in the Duterte Presidency: Produce results or leave government to others who could do better,” he noted.

by Lilybeth G. Ison, PNA | InterAksyon