the region

Organic farming: Only way to arrest global soil crisis

August 30, 2016

Life, however, is being threatened by a crisis more pernicious and insidious since it exacerbates climate change, among others. If not removed, this has the power to destroy all life from the face of the Earth. This threat has been observed for millennia and is attributed to have caused the destruction of countless civilizations since the Neolithic age. But it was only two years ago that the alarm has been sounded. This threat is called the Global Soil Crisis. “If current rates of degradation continue, all of the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years,” said Maria-Helena Semedo, deputy director-general for natural resources of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) during a forum marking World Soil Day in December 2014. “Soils are the basis of life. Ninety-five percent of our food comes from the soil,” Semedo added. “A rough calculation of current rates of soil degradation suggests we have about 60 years of topsoil left. Some forty percent (40%) of soil used for agriculture around the world is classed as either degraded or seriously degraded – the latter means that 70% of the topsoil, the layer allowing plants to grow, is gone. Because of various farming methods that strip the soil of carbon and make it less robust as well as weaker in nutrients, soil is being lost at between 10 and 40 times the rate at which it can be naturally replenished,” said Professor John Crawford of the University of Sydney in an interview with TIME magazine and the World Economic Forum. Shortsighted agri policies blamed The unprecedented rate of soil degradation is blamed on various human activities. “The loss of over 25 billion tons of topsoil from our cropland each year is the price we pay for shortsighted agricultural policies designed to boost food output at the expense of soils, and of failed or nonexistent population policies,” lamented the Washington D.C.-based Worldwatch Institute. In his first briefing as Agriculture secretary last July, Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol discovered that the Department of Agriculture has been using a 40-year-old soils data simply because previous administrations refused to grant the financial request for soil mapping by the Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM). “In the first briefing I received from officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA), I found out that the soils analysis data used by the department in waging a war against hunger were actually gathered over 40 years ago...An official of the Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM) told me that they have been asking for additional budget for the soil mapping but the request was not granted,” Piñol wrote in a note in his Facebook page. He said he asked for the BSWM official “to submit to me an estimated budget requirement for the conduct of a national soil testing so that..the DA [can] come up with a Color-Coded Agriculture Guide Map.” “A national soil testing and sampling is very vital in determining which region of the country could grow which crop best based on soil components and fertility. Also, it would effectively guide the DA and the farmers in determining what nutrients are deficient in the soil in specific areas,” Piñol said. Healthy topsoil, healthy earth Soil degradation is a silent epidemic. Every nation is affected. The pressures on soil are increasing as the world population grows. Thus, keeping topsoil healthy is synonymous to keeping the earth healthy. Ultimately, it is keeping life healthy. Scholars believed that food insecurity is one of the threats that modern society must face especially since global population has grown exponentially. As of mid-2011, estimates put the world population at 7,021,836,029 and are expected to rise to 9.3 billion in 2050. Scholars also postulated that the world’s population will double in the next 50 years if the current growth rate of 1.3 percent continues. Food production, however, has continually declined. And this is blamed mostly on global warming, urban sprawl, and land degradation — which is blamed on loss of topsoil from water erosion and fertility decline. To keep up with global food demand, the UN estimates that about 6 million hectares of new farmland will be needed every year. Instead, 12 million hectares a year are lost through soil degradation. “We need to keep our soil healthy, which means we have to make it fertile, always,” Honorio Cervantes said. “To keep soil fertile, we need to add organic matters to it. In short, we need to practice organic agriculture,” added Dr. Elmer Sayre. Cervantes is the Philippine innovator of the square-foot gardening whose Square-Foot Garden in Barangay Pagatpat, Cagayan de Oro City is an Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) learning site that is hailed for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). Sayre, on the other hand, is the founder and in-house adviser of the internationally-acclaimed Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development (WAND) Foundation, based in Libertad, Misamis Oriental. Topsoil, that upper layer of the earth’s surface which varies in depth from an inch to 8 inches, plays a very important part to agricultural productivity because it is where most of the earth’s biological soil activity occurs and has the highest concentration of organic matter, nutrients and microorganisms. Typically, plants generally concentrate their roots in and obtain most of their vital nutrients from this layer. Loss of topsoil, therefore, is one of the most significant barriers to agricultural productivity. Thus, keeping our topsoil healthy is one of the most critical factors in keeping the Earth healthy. “The secret to successful agriculture is giving the soil an enabling environment for water, air and micro-organisms to stay harmoniously healthy,” said internationally-recognized Jojo Rom, innovator and father of Urban Container Gardening (UCG). And this can only be done through organic farming. Organic farming is a strong economic driver in improving soils. And humans need to improve soils since soils provide ecosystems services and is very important in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, said Cristina Grandi, chief food security campaigner at the International Federations of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)—Organics International. “Organic [farming] the single best [solution] I can think of” to solve the global soil crisis, said IFOAM activist Volkert Engelsman. (Bong D. Fabe)

DAR-Agnor, DTI team up for marketing seminar to farmers

August 30, 2016

Participants were some 55 farmers consisting of 32 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and 23 non-agrarian reform beneficiaries from Simbalan Rubber Farmers, Inc. (SRFI) and United Farmers of Cuyago, Inc. (UFCI) of Buenavista and Jabonga towns, respectively.   DAR-AND Point Person Lucio Juni emphasized to UFCI farmers, who are into Moringa (Malunggay) Powder production, and SRFI trainees, who produce Robusta (Barako) Coffee, that the activity is an integrated support from DAR and DTI in the province to empower farmer-beneficiaries and to help their production commercially viable. “This seminar is aimed at helping the farmer-groups in their income-generating activity that have shown success potential in the local market,”: Juni said. DTI-CARP Resource Person Joy Ordonia stressed the importance of product enhancement, product promotion, good customer services, and basic rules in trade fair participation. Virginia Montilla, UFCI chairperson, said some of her group’s women-members have now improved their marketing strategy and customer handling which is significant especially because some of them have been managing their own sari-sari store. “The seminar helped our organization as it improved our relations with customers from all over the region. I thank DAR and DTI for organizing the seminar,” she added.

Bosch opens CDO hub

August 23, 2016

The CDO business hub enables Bosch to increase its proximity to its customers by providing showroom areas, training, sales and after-sales support for Bosch products and solutions across every Bosch division present in the Philippines namely Power Tools, Automotive Aftermarket, Security Systems, Thermotechnology and Drive & Control. “We are excited to be in CDO at this particular time when the city needs partners that can su0port them in their vision to transform Mindanao into an economic powerhouse within the Philippines,” said Martin Hayes, Bosch Southeast Asia President during the ribbon cutting last Friday. “Our presence in CDO enables us to take active participation in the exciting growth opportunities in this region.” With a population nearing 700,000 in CDO, the demand for motor vehicles in this region has risen steadily alongside an ongoing property development boom, thus the presence of the Automotive Aftermarket division. Meanwhile, the Power Tools division provides construction equipment to the booming realty and industrial sector here, while the Security Systems division ensures safety of these premises through fire and surveillance systems. The vibrancy of CDO, the capital of Northern Mindanao, across all sectors has contributed greatly to the nation’s economic development agenda for the past two decades or so. “Our objective is to establish closer proximity to customers and this is exactly what we achieved after we opened our business hubs in Davao and Manila,” Mr. Hayes added. In fiscal year 2015, Bosch generated US$50 million in consolidated sales in the Philippines.


August 12, 2016

An array of the best tasting wines and beers accompanied by great entertainment by local artists, this place aims to set the right atmosphere for relaxation. Aside from the wide-selection of local and imported drinks, it also offers a food menu including tapas, pastas and pizzas of the finest ingredients. One experience you surely shouldn’t miss! Give us a visit at the Ground Floor of the Limketkai Luxe Hotel. For reservations: 09178524786/09173124563 or (088)880-0000. Socialize with us @ Facebook : limketkai Luxe Hotel Instagram : limketkai_luxe Twitter : limketkai_luxe

Trucks for Life’ showcased in the Isuzu Truck Fest – Davao

August 8, 2016

IPC, which had enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with Davao’s residents and business community for decades, recently mounted the Isuzu Truck Fest – Davao. The event not only recognized the thriving commercial activity of the region but also highlighted Davao City’s present role in national life. Held at SM Lanang Premier on J.P. Laurel Avenue in Brgy. San Antonio Agdao, Davao City, Isuzu Truck Fest – Davao showcased to the local community the “Trucks for Life” models of IPC. The trucks, presented in a diverse range of applications and sizes, have been designed to meet the requirements of an equally varied profile of commercial vehicle users. The products also capably demonstrated Isuzu’s heritage in and core competency at truck manufacturing. “The Davao region, and Davao City in particular, has always been one of the most vibrant markets for Isuzu products. Without doubt, this comes as a result of the area’s well-informed consumers, progressive business sector, and dynamic governance. The Isuzu Truck Fest – Davao sought to show Dabawenyos the latest Isuzu commercial models that address their requirements and which are relevant to the further growth of their business ventures,” said IPC President Hajime Koso. Displayed at the event venue were 13 Isuzu truck models that have been configured for specific applications. IPC’s heavy-duty brigade was represented by the EXR and EXZ, which were shown as tractor heads so that customers may spec the trucks according to their requirements. For medium-duty use, IPC offered the FSR with a dropside body, and FVM that has been configured as a 10-door aluminum van. Isuzu’s N-Series, which led its segment for 16 consecutive years, was showcased as the NQR71, NKR71 and NHR in dropside bodies and as riveted aluminum vans. At Isuzu Truck Fest – Davao, IPC also offered visitors P10,000 worth of parts coupons and GoPro Hero 4 cameras. Show goers who registered for the event, and who purchase Isuzu trucks between August 4 and September 30, 2016 were eligible to receive the special promo freebies execlusive only for Isuzu Davao. Coinciding with the Isuzu Truck Fest – Davao display was a ceremony marking the turnover of Isuzu trucks to some of the company’s most valued fleet customers. Three of the Davao’s largest and most prestigious companies, which have relied on and have considered Isuzu vehicles as their business partners for numerous years, received their new vehicles during the event. Global banana producer and supplier Tagum Agricultural Development Co. Inc., through its Assistant Vice President for Purchasing Richard R. Go, bought 12 new Isuzu trucks. Eden Mountain Resort Inc., a renowned name in the hospitality industry, through Purchasing Manager Paul Santos, acquired nine new truck units. New truck units were also turned-over to one of Davao’s leading livestock and landscape operator, Nestfarms Inc. “While we in IPC are proud and very appreciative of the trust that these reputable companies have placed on the Isuzu brand, we are equally confident that the Isuzu trucks they have acquired will live up to their record of reliability and durability, and will render dependable service for many years. Rest assured that IPC will also do its utmost best to ensure this,” Koso said.

Suzuki and Motorjoy Touching Lives in Padada, Davao Del Sur

August 1, 2016

The journey in helping Piape began when Motorjoy’s Executive Vice President Mr. Romeo Noro passed by the area and his attention was caught by the makeshift rooms made of bamboo and nipa. His curiosity got him leading him in the discovery of the National High School which was an extension of the Maria Cleta R. De Los Cientos High School located in the more accessible part of Padada. Finding a new purpose, Mr. Noro opened the idea of extending help to Piape to his Motorjoy family of which their President, Mr. Paulino Ongtenco amicably committed to. The event was well attended by the supporters of the school from both the private and public sectors - Motorjoy Depot President Mr. Paulino Ongtenco and EVP Mr. Romeo Noro were present, Suzuki Philippines President Hiroshi Suzuki also graced the occasion, together with Yamaha Philippines President Toru Osugi, while the Rotary Club of North Davao was represented by Mr. Bong Cristobal, the local government office of Padada was also in attendance led by Mayor Pedro Caminero, Vice Mayor Francisco Guerrero Jr. and the municipal councilors. Along with them were the School Board of Maria Cleta R. Delos Cientos National High School led by Mr. Carmelo De Los Sientos IV. On behalf of the recipients, the school head Dr. Elizabeth Solano, Ed. D. expressed her gratitude to the donors and wished them more blessings as they continue to give back to the community. Suzuki’s help did not stop at the school as they also have programs in conjunction with the TODA community of Piape wherein the brand provided an AX4 with 6-seater capacity sidecar. To know more about Suzuki’s CSR activities and SHARE, visit our website or join our growing community


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