As the temperature continues to drop, several vegetable farms in Benguet province have been affected by frost—locally known as “andap.”
Farmers from Kibungan, Atok, Buguias, and Mankayan said the freezing temperature of nine degrees Celsius has affected their crops.
According to the Philippine Information Agency, extreme cold is felt in Lower and Upper Englandan, and Paoay in Atok town; Kibungan, Nilicob, Proper Madaymen, Taliboy-oc, Cagam-is, and Masala; and in Cada, Mankayan.
Despite the reported damage on the produce, Gov. Nestor Fongwan dismissed claims that Benguet’s vegetable industry is much affected, and that farmers are ready whenever the temperature drops.
“The farmers already know what to do during such weather. They are prepared with their sprinklers and irrigation systems in case their produce reaches the vegetative state,” Fongwan said.
Agriculture Department (DA) Information Officer Robert Domoguen noted that the production of vegetables in the province from October to January—the ‘Night Frost Season’—is normal.
“The usual production sites near creeks and [places]with available irrigation are in operation. The usual rain-fed areas are fallow or not cultivated. Some of the areas are already harvested, [but]some are awaiting their maturity period and will be harvested in January and February,” he added.
Domoguen further said that irrigating crops using rainberg is the usual intervention to deal with night frost. He added that properly managed crops during this season are juicier, crispier, more compact in texture, and have better color.
However, cabbage and potatoes, which are planted during the current season, are among the affected crops.
The DA, together with provincial and local government units, cons-tructed a mini-dam series along a creek in Paoay, built green houses, and distributed seeds which may be used as imme-diate intervention for the night frost.
Meanwhile, Agusta Ba-lanoy of Farmers.net said only five percent of the crops in the areas were affected by the frost.
Balanoy likewise ex-plained that the sudden decrease of prices of highland vegetables is a normal occurrence du-ring the peak seasons such as Christmas and New Year.