The Department of Agriculture-Cordillera (DA-CAR) is yet to receive significant damage reports on crops amid the presence of frost starting this week, particularly in the higher elevations of the provinces of Benguet and Mountain Province as shared on social media.
Frost, locally known as ‘andap’, was seen in Benguet, specifically in the grassland of Mt. Pulag in Kabayan on January 24, followed by the vegetation in Paoay, Atok, and Madaymen, Kibungan starting January 26. The occurrence of frost is also reported in Balicanao, Sadsadan, Mt. Data, Pactil, and Monamon Sur in Bauko, Mt. Province.
The local government units (LGUs), through the municipal agriculture offices (MAO), are closely monitoring the frost situations in their area. According to the MAO in Atok, there was no reported vegetable damage to date, however, close monitoring and surveillance on the sites affected are being undertaken. Similarly, in Bauko, the MAO reported that based on their initial monitoring in the frost-affected communities, crops that are likely to be affected are cabbages and potatoes in their vegetative stage.
While minimal damages are recorded in the ongoing monitoring of the LGUs, these are not evident and do not affect the supply of vegetables in the trading centers, hence, the vegetable supply remains stable.
The DA-CAR, through its High Value Crops and Development Program (HVCDP), is also closely monitoring with the partner LGUs regarding the frost situation. Accordingly, frost is a yearly phenomenon that occurs in isolated communities at higher elevations when the temperature drops to a single digit. The historical data of DA-CAR shows that frost presence in the region is particularly experienced in the higher parts of Atok, Buguias, Kibungan, and Mankayan municipalities in Benguet and Bauko in Mountain Province, usually during the months of December, January, and February.
In previous interviews with farmers in frost-prone areas, they said that frost has been there even when they were not yet born and they have learned to adapt to it. The farmer’s practice relative to the situation is to sprinkle the frost-affected crops with water using either rain burst or power sprayers to get rid of the icy water before the sunlight reaches the crops.
To assist the farmers in the frost-prone areas, the DA-CAR through the HVCDP and the DRRM also provided various interventions over the years such as greenhouse establishment, water pumps, sprinklers, drums, knapsack sprayers, and assorted highland vegetable seeds. By JBAgrifino