SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
22 March 2023 06:00:27 PM
The House Committee on Agriculture and Food chaired by Quezon Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga on Wednesday hosted a special lecture on soil sciences and its impact on Philippine Agriculture.
Professor Chengrong Chen and Dr. Johnvie Goloran of Griffith University, Queensland, Australia were invited to conduct the lecture entitled “Soil Testing: It’s Significance in Soil Health and Agri-Food Production.”
Committee on Agriculture and Food member and Agusan del Sur Rep. Eddiebong Plaza described the event as a fitting continuation of their ongoing conversation with certain Australian agencies on soil science and how soil test-agriculture can reengineer the country’s agricultural sector, “This event dovetails also with our President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s marching order to ensure food security by modernizing our agricultural sector and its practices.”
Last year, the committee went for an experimental immersion tour in Australia in December upon the invitation of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). “Our technical discussions with our hosts in Griffith University in Queensland, Prof. Chen and Dr. Goloran, among other Australian academics, have led our congressional delegation to seriously consider charting a national soil strategy for the Philippines,” Rep. Plaza told the audience.
Rep. Plaza cited Thailand, Australia, India, and India, as some of the countries where soil science is an established field in their advanced agricultural sectors.
He also pointed out that his province, Agusan del Sur, has long known the significance of soil science, attributing it to the ingrained practices of their indigenous communities and to Dr. Goloran, an Agsurnon who has more than 15 years of experience as an Australian-educated soil scientist.
Rep. Plaza is convinced that the presence of the soil scientists in the lecture gave attendees a definitive picture of what Philippine agriculture would look like in the years to come when soil science would get the right budgetary support and the needed legislative anchor.
Dr. Goloran talked about soil testing and its significance, such as improved soil health, improved crop productivity. He also discussed the current soil initiatives and programs in Agusan del Sur, which tests for land suitability, as well as develops an effective fertilization regime for rubber-based farming.
Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo asked Dr. Goloran for an estimate of the budgetary requirement of a nationwide soil testing effort, as well as an analysis comparing the increase in yield versus the increase in cost that could be used to advocate for an increased budget for the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Prof. Chen discussed the national soil strategy of Australia and the implication of developing a national soil strategy and soil network for the Philippines. He identified impact on agricultural productivity, environmental sustainability and human health, as well as in maximizing the investment return, such as education and capacity building; leadership and coordination, and farmers’ practical skills, as among the key issues that the strategy seeks to address.
Other attendees to the lecture were Agusan del Sur Rep. Alfel Bascug, Bulacan Rep. Ambrosio Cruz Jr., Bataan Rep. Maria Angela Garcia, Tarlac Rep. Christian Tell Yap, Siquijor Rep. Zaldy Villa, Bulacan Rep. Augustina Dominique Pancho, Agusan del Norte Rep. Dale Corvera, Palawan Rep. Jose Alvarez, North Cotabato Rep. Joselito Sacdalan, Agusan del Norte Rep. Jose Aquino and House Secretary General Reginald Velasco.