Senator Loren Legarda recently filed a proposed measure that aims to curtail the problem of soil degradation.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that she filed Senate Bill 3308, or the Soil and Water Conservation Act of 2012, after noting a 2010 report by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Soils and Water Management, which estimated that 45% or around 13 million hectares of arable land in the Philippines are either moderately or severely eroded due to massive deforestation and adoption of unsustainable land management practices in the upland areas, further compounded by the unabated use of “urea” in modern farming.
“This led to soil degradation and lower agricultural output despite application of modern farming practices,” she pointed out.
The Senator also said that 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.
“The 2009 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) reveals that poverty incidence among farmers and fisher folk are at 36.7% and 41.4%, respectively—much higher than the 26.5% national level,” Legarda said.
The proposed bill aims to establish a National Soil and Water Conservation Program which shall foment synergy between agricultural productivity improvement and sustainable land management.***