Thursday, July 8, 2010

Davao City: Should they adopt SALT?

“We are looking what we have” says Leo Avila, the newly appointed OIC of Davao City Agriculture Office. Such statement is in response to need of helping the farmers Paquibato District, Davao City. Recently, Mayor Inday Sarah Duterte, have visited the said area due to malaria outbreak. She saw the need to help the farmers and uplift their lives.

So what is the problem?

The problem in slope land farming is soil degradation due to poor soil conservation measures and rapid soil erosion. Most farmers have neglected soil conservation and therefore farm productivity is reduced resulting to poverty (cylic pattern of poverty). It should be reduced if not completely stopped.

What can we help to the said problem? And what can we offer?

I believe we have the human resource, the expertise, and available technology for a sustainable farming in slope land areas. We can help.

The farmers should be trained how to farm better using “Sloping Agricultural Land Technology” or otherwise known as SALT. SALT was developed at Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center by Rev. Harold Watson, Dr. Warlito Laquihon, and Rev. Rodrigo Calixtro. According to the developers SALT is a “diversified farming system, a package technology on soil conservation and food production and a method of growing field and permanent crops together” that can “provides sufficient food, income for the farmer throughout the year.”

SALT is Simple, Adaptable, Low-cost, and Transferable(SALT) technology. In short SALT is SALT. Its objectives are to control soil erosion, conserve soil fertility, increase production, and restore environment.

I’ve been advocating SALT for almost 20 years now. I can’t help to share this since I am a resident of Davao City. Recently, I was invited by an NGO to share the technology in Maa, Davao. The Governor of Capiz region also has invited us to share the said technology sometime in 2007. I also have shared the same on Vegetables Industry Council in Southern Mindanao (VICSMin) conference here in Davao, as well as to farmers Mindanao-wide through a JBIC funded project here in Mindanao.

Why I am so passionate about it?
Because of the following reasons: 1) I have the desire to help poor slope land farmers, 2) I have the opportunity to observe its humble beginnings at Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center, Kinuskusan, Bansalan, Davao del Sur. 3) I believe that it can help answer the problems in slope land areas. And 4) I can’t forget the experience of doing it with my dad in our sloping farm at Mt. Carmel (learning by doing).

The 10 simple steps of SALT are the following:
1. Make an A-Frame.
2. Locate the Contour lines.
3. Prepare the contour lines.
4. Plant Leguminous Trees and Shrubs.
5. Cultivate the strips alternately until the hedgerows developed.
6. Plant permanent crops once every third strips.
7. Plant early harvestable crops.
8. Trim down hedgerows regularly.
9. Practice crop rotation.
10. Maintain the green terraces.

So, you think Mayor Inday Sarah Duterte should look into this? I do hope so.

For further information please contact us @ (082) 271 4038 or 09208688862.

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