FOR SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION
Filipino farmers troubled by poor harvests due to poor irrigation will soon have more than 10,000 rainwater harvesting systems they need with the passage of House Bill 4539 authored by AAMBIS-Owa party-list Representative Sharon S. Garin.
The consolidated bill of the House of Representatives, HB 4539, awaits the Senate version of the bill on soil and water conservation.
The House Committee on Agriculture’s consolidated bill is largely based on Garin’s proposal.
HB 4539 or the proposed Soil and Water Conservation Act seeks to establish at least 10,000 rainwater harvesting systems and a thousand Soil and Water Conversion Guided Farms across the country.
These farm support systems are meant to save water and mitigate the destructive power of heavy rain and flashfloods to farms.
“So instead of the farmers fearing heavy rains engulfing their farmlands, farmers will begin to take advantage of the massive adequate rainwater harvesting facilities to collect water which will be used to sustain production during dry spell,” Rep. Garin said.
State-weather bureau PAGASA said the Philippines has an average annual rainfall of 2,400 millimeters more than enough to meet the demand for crop production.
“However, this amount of rainfall is not evenly distributed throughout the year in most parts of the country. There is too much rainfall in some areas resulting to severe soil erosion and flooding; while in other parts of the country, there is too little rain to support crop production especially during summer,” Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM) Soil Conservation and Management Division Chief Sammy Contreras said.
The funding of this will come from the budget of the Department of Agriculture. BSWM supports the passage of the bill, saying that most watersheds across the nation are already deteriorating due to indiscriminate logging and slash-and-burn (kaingin) practices. /MP