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GENERAL SANTOS CITY (PNA) – Agriculture personnel in South Cotabato province have started their preparations for the upcoming implementation of the soil analysis program of the Department Agriculture (DA) in some parts of the area.
Justina Navarrete, chief of the South Cotabato Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, said Monday they are currently identifying the areas within the province’s 10 towns and lone city that will be covered by the initiative.
She said the soil analysis will last for 45 days and is targeted to cover around 10,000 to 14,000 hectares of lands in the province.
South Cotabato has around 30,000 hectares of idle lands that are mostly located in the upland areas, she said.
“The top priority will be idle and underutilized lands that have water resources,” the official said.
Navarrete said the DA central office, through a recommendation from its Region 12 field office, earlier identified South Cotabato as among the three provinces in the region that will be included in the first phase of the nationwide soil analysis.
She said the activity will start within this month and will be facilitated by personnel from the DA’s Bureau of Soils and Water Management.
Also covered in the first phase of the soil analysis are the provinces of North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.
Sarangani Province was included in the second phase, which be conducted early next year.
The soil analysis was personally pushed by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol in a bid to establish a color coded agriculture guide map for all provinces.
The initiative was set by the agency as among its top priorities for the first 100 days of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Navarrete said the soil analysis will focus on the determination of an area’s soil fertility and related components.
“The results will help establish what crops or commodities are suitable for planting in a specific area,” she said.
DA-12 said only 10 provinces in the country so far have updated soil fertility and crop suitability maps.
It said the soil analysis will assist the DA in attaining its target to increase the country’s food production areas to one million hectares under its food self-sufficiency strategy.