Atok farmers have learned to deal with frost, Mayor says 

By Redjie Melvic M. Cawis

ATOK, Benguet, Feb. 9 (PIA) — The occurrence of frost in this municipality is a normal scenario which farmers deal with during the colder months of the year.

Mayor Raymundo Sarac said some farms in the municipality particularly in parts of Sitio Paoay Proper in Barangay Paoay   have been experiencing  frost occurrences  since January  with temperature dipping to as low as  6°C. The mayor said that based on the reports by the local government unit, the damage of frost to the farmlands is only less than one percent which does not affect the production of vegetables.

When frost locally called “andap” occurs, thin layer of ice forms into the plants which could damage vegetables including root crops which wither and get burned when it gets hit by sunlight. Frost can be observed early morning around 4:00 AM but slowly dries up when the sun shines over the affected areas.

With the “andap” occurrence in the municipality during the colder months from December to February, farmers have learned to deal with it to   ensure that their vegetable produce will not be damaged badly.

  “Alam na ng mga farmers natin ang kanilang gagawin tuwing may frost sa Atok, hindi nila pinababayaang masira ang gulay at pananim nila,” Sarac said.

Over the years, farmers have learned ways of countering frost   minimizing   its impact to vegetable farms and vegetable production. The common remedy to remove frost in vegetables thru the use of water sprinklers before sunlight hits, he added.

 The Department of Agriculture and the LGU have also built of mini dams and provided water hoses from a creek in Paoay to the different farms as interventions.  Sarac said the farmers now   also know what vegetable varieties to plant during this time of the year.

“Andap does not even affect the whole of Atok or the whole of Paoay but only portions of Sitio Proper Paoay,” he said.

He stressed that since the frost does not affect the vegetable production, prices of highland vegetables being sold in the market should not be affected. Vegetable prices still should be based on the law of supply and demand, Sarac said as he called the attention of entrepreneurs who take advantage of the situation.

The frost occurrence has also become one of the tourism attractions of the municipality. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic tourism activities in the municipality  this year are still closed. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)