December 4, 2022

The frost being experienced in Atok, Benguet whenever the temperature drops is not a reason for vegetable prices to increase.
Atok Mayor Raymundo Sarac of Atok said their town has been known for the frost phenomenon, which some unscrupulous vegetable traders use in jacking up vegetable prices.
He said the area affected when frost is experienced is only about 1,000 square meters of vegetable gardens in Barangay Paoay.
“It happens only in a portion of the barangay,” he said.
The frost phenomenon is the freezing of dew because of the low temperature in an area. It is usually experienced on the last week of December and other days of January and February.
The mayor said when there is frost, it does not mean vegetables are damaged because the farmers have already learned how to handle the situation.
Sarac assured the public the frost does not affect the supply thus should not also affect the prices.
He said farmers in the area have learned not to plant leafy vegetables during the cold season to avoid being damaged.
“Alam na ng farmers ang itinatanim nila, ‘yung mga hindi nasisira ‘pag may frost like carrots. The farmers do not even worry anymore because they have gotten used to the phenomenon and already know what to plant for the season,” Sarac said.
He said farmers have installed the rain bust, an automatic rotating watering system that washes off the ice on the leaves. Watering is done in the early morning to prevent the sun from heating the leaves covered with ice, which causes wilting.
According to the Department of Agriculture, Benguet produces about 80 to 85 percent of the highland vegetable needs of the Philippines. Buguias is the top producer, followed by Atok and Mankayan.
Sarac said about 15 to 20 percent of highland vegetables in Benguet is produced in Atok. – PNA