Agri department addresses frost-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Sunday, January 5, 2014
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has built greenhouses and mini-dams to address frost occurring yearly in several towns in Benguet.
DA-Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Division Chief Robert Domoguen said the yearly frost experienced in some sitios of Atok, Kibungan, Buguias and Mankayan is a normal phenomenon as temperatures there dropped to nine degrees Celsius.
The DA conducted a monitoring and assessment of damage to vegetables due to night frost early Thursday morning and reported recommendations to address the yearly phenomenon to the regional office.
Domoguen said production is not affected by night frost, explaining affected sitios are situated in a valley with a small land area of less than a hectare.
Frost normally occurs from October to January but supply at the La Trinidad Trading post remains normal.
According to the Agriculture department, farmers in affected areas have learned to adapt to the yearly frost with some vegetables harvested before the frost season occurs.
According to Domoguen, crops affected are cabbage and potatoes.
The DA stressed a better crop programming and use of shelters and light to regulate the temperature are being used by farmers to address frost.
Among the interventions long been known to local farmers include irrigating crops overhead using rainberg sprinklers.
“[Rainberg sprinklers] simply wash the formed ice on the plant leaves before sunrise. Unwashed ice crystals when melted by the sun, causes injurious reaction on the leaves of the plant," Domoguen said.
“Properly managed crops during this season have better quality. These are juicier, crispier, crunchier, more compact in texture and have good color quality,” he added.
The DA also helped the local government of Atok in the construction of a mini-dam series worth P2 million along a creek in Paoay, Atok, Benguet with power sprayers as component. The agency has also built greenhouses and distributed vegetable seeds.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 06, 2014.