Land use study pushed to promote agri, investments 

LAOAG CITY – Ilocos Norte plans to conduct a province-wide assessment of land uses to determine potential areas for agro-industrial prospects with environmental development and investments.

Lawyer Pancho Jose, chief of staff of Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc and agriculture project consultant, said Monday the study will be a cost-sharing project of the Ilocos Norte government, in collaboration with the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional 1 office.

“The study will be the first step to determine more targeted and more focused interventions and assistance to Ilocos farmers,” Jose said in an interview, adding its results will be used as guide to help farmers in improving their productivity.

With a P2.4 million budget, the project aims to assess land uses and limitations to cropping system development for the identification of potential areas for agricultural investment, and site-specific interventions to address constraints to agricultural production.

It is premised on formulations of land use allocation and management strategies that will promote sustainable productivity, vis-a-vis long-term development that complements ecological improvement.

To speed up the implementation of the study, members of the Ilocos Norte Board on Monday unanimously approved Provincial Resolution No. 2023-07-164 authorizing the Governor to enter into a memorandum of agreement (MOA)  with the BSWM represented by Director Gina P. Nilo and the DA Regional Field Office 1 represented by Director Anne Q. Bares for the land use assessment.

Jose said the conduct of the study has long been planned by the province which could have been done earlier to serve its purpose but for some reasons, it is only now it will be implemented.

He added the land use assessment will start at the soonest possible time and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Five years ago, soil testing was conducted in some parts of the province to help farmers identify the crops suitable to be planted in certain parcels of agricultural land.

But this time, the color-coded soil fertility map of the province will be updated for individual farmers to be informed about the level of soil fertility, and what to do about it and what fertilizers are best best suited for their crops. (PNA).