DA continues to assist farmers

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- The Department of Agriculture is set to pour in aid for frost-affected towns in this highland province.

The DA will deliver assistance to affected areas in Paoay, Atok and Barangay Madaymen in Kibungan with 10 units of power sprayers; 20 rolls of rubber hose; 50 pieces of plastic drums; and 10 rolls of plastic sheets to be used in making rain-shelters.

DA Regional Director Marilyn Sta. Catalina said an information caravan will be conducted in Paoay on Saturday with farmers to reiterate frosting and urgent preventive measures for crops.

"This is an annual assistance we have been giving the farmers in the past years and we want also to assess why there has been damages to crops despite preventive measure we have placed," Sta. Catalina revealed.

The regional director stressed the DA is not aiming for a zero frost damage incidence since the phenomenon is an expected annual occurrence. However, helping lower damages is always a priority.

The DA will also provide replacement seeds for farmers to start a new planting cycle. The aid will benefit over 500 farmers in the province initially.

The DA recommends the sprinkling of water over crops on the onset of frosting to save leaves from wilting.

Most highland farmers have adjusted planting calendars to harvest early and avoid a frost season.

The recent frost was first noted on December 30, when temperature dropped to a near-icy 9°C.

The DA advocates long-term solutions like the construction of water-impounding facilities in frost-prone areas.

These interventions will be in addition to what DA already delivered or established in Benguet, which include P2.4-million water impounding facility, a greenhouse and several units of power sprayers in Atok, usually the most affected area.

The DA assured frosting will not lead to a shortage of upland vegetables as it affected merely three hectares of potato and cabbage farms. “Of the total affected areas, only one-fourth hectare was totally damaged,” Catalina said.

It is believed markets and businessmen are taking advantage of minimal frost damage reports as a leverage to pump prices of highland vegetables.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 09, 2014.

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