DA urged to start soil rejuvenation program

More News from Niña P. Calleja

Icrisat Director General William Dar

MANILA, Philippines—A research group based in India is urging the Department of Agriculture to embark on a massive soil rejuvenation program, which promises to bring back soil health and increase crop yield by at least 20 percent.

“We need a major strategy to bring back soil health. Our soils are sick and overused from various activities like mining,” said former Agriculture Secretary William Dar, who is now director general of non-profit group International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (Icrisat).

Dar said the DA, through the Bureau of Agricultural Research, had committed P100 million for the program for 2013. But a formal agreement between Icrisat and the DA has yet to be signed, Dar said.

“They (DA staff) are now identifying sizable areas which will serve as pilots for the program. Once a memorandum of understanding is signed, we will begin the program immediately, hopefully by March,” Dar said.

Dar is pushing for the country’s adoption of the Icrisat’s project in Karnataka State, India’s second-largest dryland rainfed cropping area, to boost the Philippines’ agricultural productivity and resilience to climate change.

In three years since the rejuvenation program in India, crop yields increased by an average of 30 percent across three million hectares, benefiting 2.2 million smallholder farmers, Dar explained.

Dar said farms were given deficiency-correcting fertilizers so crops could withstand calamities like drought.

He explained that the first step in a land rejuvenation program would be soil analysis and the soil mapping, which might take a month and a half with the equipment that the DA had.

The former agriculture official said that in the past few years, the government has been doing less on soil tests when it should have been done every three to five years to help the farmers determine what varieties and cultivars the soil needs.

Instead of doing the soil tests on few selected areas, Dar proposed to do it across the country on a regular basis.

“While we are doing the soil analysis, we intend to build up farmers’ organizations because in the end those would facilitate in the program would come from the farmers themselves,” Dar said.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Sarong9146

    With DA nothing will happen. Money will be pocketed. 

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos