Chemicals, climate change affect strawberry production

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

EXPERTS revealed the strawberry production of Benguet is currently affected by chemicals and climate change.

Silvestre Kudan, farming expert and the director of the Office of the Extension Services of Benguet State University (BSU), said the yield of the strawberry fields of La Trinidad are now described as stunted and have unusual shapes because of the continuous use of synthetics which is compounded by climate change.

He said farmers keep on using chemicals like insecticides and pesticides even if predatory mites and other pests are not around anymore.


He added as the after effect of this practice, the soil of the farm became extremely acidic. He cited based on a recent study of the school, the soil acidity is now at 4.1 to 5 which is way below the required 5.5 to 6.8 soil acidity.

Kudan added with this highly acidic soil, many problems occurred like the scarcity of nutrients to the plants which usually led to the unusual shapes of strawberries.

He added flowers of the strawberries are mostly damaged which can lead to fruitless crops.

Apart from synthetics affecting the crop, Kudan revealed the changing climate is also another big factor on the deceasing production of strawberries in the province.

He cited the situation of the strawberry farm in 2012 where during the crops’ flowering stage, the temperature went up. On the other hand, he cited a season of cropping wherein rains continue to drop endlessly.

These, he said are huge factors which destroyed the yields of the farmers in the past months.

“Strawberries need a temperate climate and this means they need a negative temperature which is what we don’t have in our locality.”

With this, farmers should have cold storage devices in their farms to maintain what the plant needs.

But Kudan said these devices are rare and are limited to those who can afford them.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 12, 2013.

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