Technology key to agriculture, mining in Tampakan
(The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A soil, agriculture and land use expert who has worked in agro-forestry and environmental impact assessment projects all over the country, and in Asia and South Africa, has identified training for local farmers and technology as the key to solving sustainable co-existence of the mining and agriculture in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

“We need to train the farmers in Tampakan and apply modern technology for both farming and mining, for the two to go together,” said Dr. Perfecto Evangelista who has extensive stint with the Bureau of Soil and Water Management and the World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines.

Tampakan is the site of a $5.9-billion copper-gold mining project being developed by government contractor Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI).

In the 2011 Ulat ng Bayan (Report to the Nation) by the Department of Agriculture-Region 12, South Cotabato aims to help the rice sufficiency target of the country “through the distribution of farming assistance and facilities and making training available to local farmers in the region.”

DA-Region 12 director Amalia Jayag Datukan said they are encouraging farmers to be involved in government programs and work together with the government.

Evangelista, on the other hand, said that in terms of additional training and use of technology, “a mining company can help as part of its corporate social responsibility.”

“Mitigating measures… will direct a mining company to employ the best available mining technology that can enhance agricultural activities in Tampakan,” Evangelista said.

Evangelista said a mining company is “directed to employ technologies such as slope stabilization, siltation control and erosion control measures in (its) mining area that will protect and enhance agricultural lands in the lowlands.”

“Responsible mining will enhance agricultural activities in the area,” he said.

Evangelista also cited the planned construction of a fresh water dam as part of the Tampakan mining project.

“This fresh water dam will greatly enhance the management of irrigation and water source for downstream farmers and communities,” he said.

AMALIA JAYAG DATUKAN ASIA AND SOUTH AFRICA BUREAU OF SOIL AND WATER MANAGEMENT AND THE WORLD WIDE FUND DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE-REGION DR. PERFECTO EVANGELISTA EVANGELISTA MINING NATURE PHILIPPINES SOUTH COTABATO TAMPAKAN
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