Legarda warns of desertification

WARNING that the country’s rich landfields may soon become unproductive deserts, Senator Loren Legarda has urged the government and all those concerned to take action and stop the unwelcome development from happening.

Legarda issued the statement during the observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought as she urged the government to promote the use of soil and water conservation technologies to combat drought and prevent land degradation.

 

DA Study

She cited a Department of Agriculture study which showed that 45 percent (equivalent to 13 million hectares) of arable land in the Philippines are either moderately or severely eroded.

Massive deforestation and unsustainable land management practices, especially in upland areas, have contributed to land degredation in the Philippines.

Land degradation in the country has affected more than 33 million Filipinos and is likely to contribute to widespread and severe poverty in the rural areas, Sen. Legarda also pointed out. 

 

Conservation 

Sen. Legarda also stressed the need to adopt soil and water conservation measures and practices including rainwater harvesting, watershed protection and sloping technology to reduce soil erosion and enhancing agricultural productivity.

Legarda has authored Senate Bill No. 422 or “An Act Promoting Soil and Water Conservation Technologies and Approaches for Sustainable Land Management in the Philippines” which seeks to support Sustainable Land Management (SLM) programs for livelihood improvement, particularly that of upland farmers and indigenous peoples, and for the prevention of land degradation. 

The bill aims to establish 1,000 Soil and Water Conservation Guided Farms within five years from its effectivity.

The objective is to showcase sustainable land management best practices such as sloping agricultural land technology, organic-based agriculture, farm waste and residue management, wastewater recycling and re-use, rainwater harvesting.

The measure also aims to establish 10,000 units of small-scale rainwater harvesting systems consisting of rainwater reservoir development, watershed management, and service area development in strategic upland areas throughout the country; and to capacitate and empower local government units and farmers associations in the implementation and operationalization and maintenance of soil and water conservation model farms and rainwater harvesting system.

“The degradation of soil in our farmlands will eventually lead to lower agricultural output despite the application of modern farming practices. This will affect not only the livelihood of our farmers but also our food supply. We have to act now before it is too late,” Legarda concluded.

 

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