Hailstorm damage on Benguet vegetables negligible

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — The almost one hour of hailstorm that struck Benguet province over the weekend had caused only a “negligible” damage to the province’s crops, a senior agriculturist from the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPAG) said on Wednesday.

OPAG’s Delinia Juan based her assessment on the data submitted by Cherry Sano, Atok town’s municipal agriculturist and an inspection of the affected farms.

AFTER THE HAILSTORM. Ice pellets form like rocks on the ground after a one-hour hailstorm hit several towns of Benguet province on Saturday (April 21, 2018) and affected some crops in the province’s vegetable-producing towns of Atok, Buguias, and Kibungan. (Photo by the Office of Provincial Agriculture in Benguet)

The data showed only six out of the 12 standing agricultural products were damaged – cabbage, Chinese cabbage, celery, potato, carrots, and radish. However, it affected 152 farmers.

A total of 35.17 hectares of vegetable farms in Barangay Paoay of Atok town were affected by the weather phenomenon with 27.38 hectares partially hit and 7.79 hectares assessed to be totally damaged.

Inspecting the affected farms hours after the hailstorm, Juan expects the phenomenon to cause a “minimal” reduction in the production of the affected vegetables and the crops’ farmgate prices.

Juan said the farmers had informed her that the strong rain that immediately followed the hailstorm melted the ice pellets that fell on the vegetables and saved the crops. “Had there been no strong rain that followed, there could have been more damage,” she said.

According to her, there are almost 11,000 hectares of land in Benguet that are planted with various vegetables for harvest. Most of these were harvested on Wednesday.

SAVED BY THE RAIN. Melted ice pellets are deposited in a canal at a vegetable farm planted with cabbage in Barangay Paoay in Atok town, Benguet province. Provincial agriculturists assess Saturday’s hailstorm’s damage on the crops as minimal due to the heavy rain that came right after the one-hour hailstorm. (Photo by the Office of Provincial Agriculture in Benguet)

These produce included lettuce, broccoli, snap bean, sweet peas, strawberry, and cutflowers.

OPAG records showed Atok town produced more than 5,000 metric tons of various vegetables in 2017.

But Juan said some farmlands in Barangay Bayoyo in Buguias town and Barangay Madaymen in Kibungan town in this upland province were also affected.

These towns’ agriculturists, though, also reported to OPAG “minimal” damage to their crops, such as carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. PNA-northboundasia.com