(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 27 May 2024) At 3:00 AM today, the center of the eye of Typhoon "AGHON" {EWINIAR} was estimated based on all available data at 95 km East of Baler, Aurora (15.6°N, 122.5°E) with maximum sustained winds of 140 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 170 km/h. It is moving North Northeastward at 10 km/h. Southwesterly Windflow affecting the western section of Southern Luzon and Visayas. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to moderate winds coming from South to Southwest will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.5 meters).

Friday, 20 October 2023

AgSur execs campaign for soil health development 

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur -- The provincial leaders are pushing forward with their efforts to enhance soil health development, integrating it as a crucial element within the province's centerpiece on Upland Sustainable Agroforestry Development (USAD) program, that bolstered the agricultural productivity of farmers in this landlocked province. 

An Australian delegation, led by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), arrived on October 11 for an in-depth review of the USAD Program.

The visit, featuring Australian Deputy Ambassador to the Philippines, James Yeomans, Dr. James Quilty, the chief scientist of ACIAR, and Australian Embassy Political Second Secretary Alexander O’Hara, marked a step ahead in implementing the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Philippines and Australia, that focused on a national soil health strategy that sought to elevate production levels within the country's agricultural lands. 

Rep. Adolph Edward Plaza, of Agusan del Sur’s second district, believed that the MOU aligned harmoniously with the USAD program, which he conceived while he was governor in the aftermath of Typhoon Pablo in December 2012. 

Today, the USAD program stood as the cornerstone of the poverty alleviation program (PAP) of the provincial government. 

USAD was recognized in the Galing Pook Awards 2021 as one of the top 10 outstanding local governance programs in the country. 

This acknowledgment was awarded for its best practices in empowering farmers in hinterland areas to become more productive in a sustainable manner, through the implementation of appropriate technological interventions and by fostering partnerships with stakeholders for development. 

Following Governor Santiago Cane Jr.'s slide presentation at the provincial capitol, Yeomans expressed his appreciation, noting that despite the challenges, progress has been made in the USAD program. 

Local officials were optimistic that the visit to the proposed provincial soils laboratory at the Capitol complex and the Sustainable Provincial Agroforestry Resource Center (SPARC) in Bayugan City would leave a positive impression on the visiting Australian officials, making the USAD program a model for the five-year research collaboration on soil and land management between the two countries. 

The provincial soils laboratory, expected to be completed in 2025, will be staffed by soil chemists, soil microbiologists, and agronomists. A significant transformation is also planned for the 43-hectare SPARC, which will showcase agricultural innovation in farm technologies, economic impact, engineering, and tourism. 

The provincial government already sent approximately 5,000 soil samples from 500-meter grid samples and experimental areas for soil nutrient analyses to Griffith University in Australia. 

This initiative is part of ACIAR's partnership with the USAD program, which also included facilitating three provincial government scholars to study in Australian universities to enhance their knowledge of soil science. 

The governor emphasized the strong advocacy for soil health that developed through the partnership with ACIAR via the USAD program, gained support from both the executive and legislative branches of the government. 

From 2013 to 2022, the USAD program invested P771 million, with ACIAR co-investing P80 million in research and technical support and municipal government units at P97.2 million. 

Rep. Plaza has been at the forefront of promoting soil test-based fertilization after discovering the lack of technical expertise in soil management at the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Soils and Water Management. 

He recognized the urgent need for scientific soil testing, especially when farmers in Agusan del Sur who are beneficiaries of the USAD program, continued to experience low production despite being taught proper farm technologies. 

During his visit to Canberra and Queensland with a delegation of Filipino lawmakers, governors, and the academic sector, Plaza realized the need for new legislation to sustain the soil health testing development program and aid in rebuilding the farming sector. 

"I hope we will admit our government's failure to find solutions," Plaza commented during SMNI Night Line News Live on September 19. 

He further emphasized the need to create a critical mass, especially in Congress, to support science and ensure the program's continuity through yearly budget allocation. 

He expressed his desire to create a bill to guarantee sustainability, even if he and his colleagues will no longer be in the Congress. 

Plaza commended President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for acknowledging his advocacy in his keynote speech at the 1st National Soil Health Summit at the Diamond Hotel in Manila on June 22. 

President Marcos Jr. stressed the importance of implementing innovative measures to address the growing problems of soil degradation, acidification, and pollution in the Philippines. 

"Needless to say, our soil is under threat, and continuing to neglect this vital agricultural component will lead to an even worse crisis in the future," the president warned. (Chris V. Panganiban, PPIO-Agusan del Sur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)