DA assures ‘frost’ won’t affect veggies supply, cost

BAGUIO CITY — The Department of Agriculture Cordillera (DA-CAR) has assured that there will be no vegetable price surge due to the “frost” phenomenon caused by the sudden drop in temperature.

“We are assuring the public that there will be enough supply and stable prices of vegetables,” DA-CAR officer-in-charge Dr. Cameron Odsey told Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview on Tuesday.

He said the frost phenomenon is a normal occurrence that happens when the temperature in the Cordillera drops.

“Frosting” happens when the cold temperature causes the morning dew on the leaves to freeze.

For several years, the occurrence was monitored in a small area in Barangay Paoay, Atok town in Benguet.

In recent years, there were also some reports of “frost” in Madaymen, Kibungan and at Mount Santo Tomas in Tuba, Benguet.

Odsey said the areas where the phenomenon happens cover a very small portion of the region’s land area used in vegetable production.

He also said farmers have learned how to manage frost to avoid total damage on the produce, particularly on leafy vegetables.

Pauulanan nila gamit ang water sprinkler bago lumabas ang araw para matunaw ang yelo (They will water the plants using the water sprinkler to melt the ice),” Odsey said.

In case the outer leaves are damaged, the farmers simply remove them and the remaining leaves are still sold, he added.

To allay fears of the lack of supply, Odsey reiterated that frosting happens in a small area and will neither adversely affect vegetable supply nor lead to increase in the produce’s costs.

He warned traders taking advantage of the frost to jack up the vegetable prices, calling on the local media to help them in informing the public about the reality of the frost and that is should not be a cause for panic.

Odsey said Benguet is the primary source of highland vegetables.

Out of the 13 town in Benguet, vegetables in commercial quantity are produced by the municipalities of Atok, Buguias, Mankayan, Tublay, Kabayan, Kibungan and a few from the towns of Bokod, La Trinidad, Kapangan, Bakun, Sablan, Tuba and Itogon.

Based on record, Benguet produced an aggregate of 50,788 metric tons of assorted vegetables in 2017.

In 2018, the production was cut to 42,729. which was due to the series of calamities experienced in the province from July to November.

Odsey said highland vegetables are also grown in Bauko town in Mountain Province as well as Tinoc town in Ifugao- all adjacent to Benguet province, adding to Benguet’s production.

The country’s weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Tuesday said frost can be experienced in Atok as temperature reading in the town drops from eight to 10 degrees Celsius. PNA – northboundasia.com