Thursday, May 26, 2016

PSSST urges Bicol farmers to apply soil-friendly farming methods
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, May 25 (PNA) -– Data obtained from the Bureau of Soils show considerable increase in Bicol’s soil degradation, prompting an encouragement from the Philippine Society of Soil Science and Technology (PSSST) for Bicolano farmers towards the application of soil-friendly farming.

In its 19th Annual Meeting and Scientific Conference held recently here, the PSSST said it is focusing on the improvement of soil fertility not only in the region but also all over the country where soil degradation has been growing alarmingly.

“Farmers’ fertilizer application practices are often unbalanced or sub-optimal, resulting in low yields, nutrient imbalances and environmental degradation,” Mirasol Pampolino, the Southeast Asia program deputy director of the International Plant Nutrition Institute, told the hundreds of participants in the grand event sponsored by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

According to Pampolino, there is a great need to educate the farmers and planters of the country in terms of fertilizer usage to lessen soil degradation and increase agricultural profit.

PSSST president Redia Atienza said the annual conference was among the organization’s activities in keeping with the purpose and objectives it was organized, one of which is promoting the advancement of soil science and technology in the Philippines.

“The challenge is upon us members to break free from the trending concept on organics and spread out the scientific knowledge so we can capture the true meaning and give optimum food production opportunities beyond our shores,” Atienza said in her message.

The challenge involves the career orientation program designed to encourage students to major in Soil Science, where soil scientists and technologists share their knowledge regarding the many opportunities ahead, in the development and conservation of Philippine soils, she said.

"This is augmented and or complemented by the PSSST Thesis Grant Program for those majoring in soil science,” she added.

The annual meeting and scientific conference, according to her, supports the objective to serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas and knowledge among soil scientists, technologists, and planners.

The PSSST commitment to partnering with the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation, Philippine Association of Agriculturists, International Union of Soil Science and East and Southeast Asia Federation of Soil Science Societies is in support of the objectives in establishment of formal and non-formal linkages with similar organizations locally and abroad, Atienza revealed.

“We enjoin all members to be one in continuing the implementation of such programs in support of the PSSST's set objectives,” she stressed.

PSSST is a non-stock, non-profit professional scientific organization which boosts of nationwide membership devoted to various objectives, among them to promote the advancement of soil science and technology in the Philippines.

It also performs the task of mobilizing and encouraging soil scientists and technologists of the country to share their knowledge in the development and conservation of Philippine soils and serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas and knowledge among soil scientists, technologists, and planners.

Also among its objectives is to establish formal and non–formal information linkages with other similar organizations and institutions, locally and abroad.

The society is composed of members from various government agencies like the Departments of Agriculture, Science and Technology and Environment and Natural Resources and attached agencies, local government units, state colleges and universities, private agencies, non-government organizations and international institutions based in the Philippines.

Part of the three-day conference was discussions on farming methods formulated to preserve long-term soil fertility along with proper fertilizer utilization.

The participants were also ushered to a tour around Albay where they were given in-depth insights of the province’s soil conditions mostly described as sandy loom and volcanic in nature hence, fit for a large variety of cash crops and other high-value agricultural products like vegetables, root crops and fruit trees.

The conference participants also visited tourist spots around the city to find out for themselves why it is called in the international travel world as the “City of Fun and Adventure”. (PNA) LAP/FGS/DOC/CBD