TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is expanding the implementation of its soil rejuvenation program to increase yield covering 10 more farming towns in five provinces of the Eastern Visayas region.

DA Eastern Visayas Regional Executive Director Andrew Orais said the Yamang Lupa: sustainable community-based action R4DE for enhancement, upliftment and prosperity (SCALE-UP) program is now ready for application in other areas following the success of the pilot program in selected rice farms in Samar and Leyte provinces.

For this year, the covered areas, measuring over 10,000 hectares, are Abuyog and Javier in Leyte; Maasin City and Bontoc in Southern Leyte; Borongan City and Salcedo in Eastern Samar; Catarman and Allen in Northern Samar; and Naval and Caibiran towns in Biliran province.

“Yamang Lupa SCALE-UP program in the region aims to harness the adaptive science revival strategy to further boost farmer productivity. We are praying that this project will be our key in achieving food security in the region,” Orais said Monday.

The department launched the program in 2014, which included three provinces – Samar, Quezon, and Zamboanga Sibugay as pilot areas.

Replicating the success of the program in Samar, the DA has included Javier and Abuyog towns in Leyte as expansion areas in 2022.

Leonarda Londina, DA regional chief research division, said the program is an adoption of Bhoochetana principles and approaches for natural resources management towards sustainable agriculture. Bhoochetana is an Indian term for soil rejuvenation.

“The objective is to develop a program management structure and policies within the regional network, increase agricultural productivity and profitability while conserving the natural resources, enhance capacities of farmers and groups, community, and other stakeholders and to develop sustainable livelihood and enhance marketing strategies,” Londina added.

The pilot implementation in Samar generated soil fertility maps, adopted the best farm management practices, and followed the recommended macro-and micro-nutrients for soil rejuvenation, according to DA.

The DA reported that the average yield in tons per hectare of all commodities increased significantly, with ginger, rice, and sweet potato, posting a 193 percent, 30 percent, and 79 percent increase, respectively. (PNA)