Benguet frost no effect on veggie supply

By Artemio Dumlao

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The presence of the frost did not affect the volume of daily supply of highland vegetables, a vegetable farmers’ marketing cooperative said.

LA TRINIDAD, Philippines – Darn effects of frost on the country’s “vegetable salad bowl” in northern Benguet is very nil, a vegetable farmers’ marketing cooperative said.

Farmers reported that only a few farms were affected by the frost, said Augusta Balanoy, speaking in behalf of the Benguet Vegetable Farmers Marketing Cooperative.

The frost was felt in Barangay Madaymen, Kibungan and some farms in Sitios Nangayangan and Nalicob of the same town. 

Balanoy said that other farms were not affected due to strong winds that blew away the frost forming early in the morning on vegetable leaves.

The temperature on Wednesday in the topmost areas in northern Benguet reached zero degrees Celsius.

Strong winds and fog in the vegetable farming in Barangay Cada in Mankayan town, Benguet also battled the frost, Balanoy said quoting local farmers there. The same situation happened in Barangay Lam-ayan in Buguias town.

Only the highly elevated vegetable farms in Barangay Paoay, Atok were affected by the frost. Balanoy said farmers have devised methods of parrying the frost by watering the plants early.

No effect on vegetable supply

According to Balanoy, the presence of the frost did not affect the volume of daily supply of highland vegetables.

"Of the total 33,000 hectares vegetable farmers in northern Benguet, not even one percent was affected," she said.

Benguet produces almost 85 percent of the country's vegetable consumption.

While the frost did not affect the entire industry, Balanoy said that its effect was felt by individual farmers. 

Matured vegetables such as cabbages were harvested and categorized under second class from first class.. 

The newly planted carrots or potatoes which were not watered early, on the other hand, were affected the most. Farmers have to replant another set of seedlings.

Local farmers are hoping that the agriculture department will provide quality seeds and water pumps as aid. 

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