Bureau of Soils and Water Management partners with Gawad Kalinga for soil conservation

A June 6, 2011 press release by the Department of Agriculture

To help Gawad Kalinga communities become host to vibrant farming communities, the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) is undertaking with Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation Inc. the Soil Conservation Guided Farm Project (SCGFP) in selected sites in the country.

“This program will create awareness that soil and management and conservation are very important components in achieving an optimum level of farm productivity,” said BSWM Executive Director Silvino Tejada.

Since many GK communities are located in rural areas with farming potential, the project will also help rehabilitate lands that have been degraded by environmental factors like erosion and siltation, among others.

The BSWM has selected eight sites for the SCGFP: Victorias City, Negros Occidental; Pototan, Iloilo; Dolores, Eastern Samar; San Vicente, Palawan; Bamban, Tarlac; Angat, Bulacan; Libmanan, Camarines Sur; and Butuan City, Agusan del Norte.

The following initiatives will be pursued in the project: promotion of soil conservation technologies such as contour farming; promotion of organic farming for fertility enhancement and value added activities such as composting using Trichoderma, mushroom production and the use of biogas; and use of a farm journal. Tree planting will also be undertaken in the selected GK communities.

The project should result in the implementation of a Soil Conservation Farm Plan, which Tejada said should make GK communities have their own farms to supplement their food supply, or become vibrant farming communities that can help provide livelihood for community residents.

“There are GK communities that are located beside vast tracts of land, or have areas within that can be used for farming. Once these communities have their own Soil Conservation Farm Plan, they can establish very productive farms based on their available area,” Tejada said.

The project began in October 2010, and will be expanded to other GK communities.  The BSWM wants the first eight sites of the project to be a showcase on how water and soil management and conservation can make communities with idle lands highly productive farming areas.

“Of course, we are also pushing for organic agriculture in these communities in line with the vision of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to provide safe food for people,” Tejada said.