Frost and veggies-A A +A
Thursday, January 24, 2013
JUST last week, my colleague Joseph Zambrano and I watched a news item on national television pertaining to the effects of frost to our Benguet highland vegetables and the ever popular strawberries, and to our surprise, the report showed that around 80 percent of the strawberries in La Trinidad were affected by Typhoon "Bising" coupled with acid rain.
I suddenly asked myself, were we under any typhoon signal last week and was there any report on acid rain?
Oh gee, oh gosh, oh wow, oh shucks! Whew! That's a headline material for imperial Manila journalist. Imagine our tourists flocking to the strawberry farm in La Trinidad and having to consume acid rain treated strawberries?
Well, that kind of a story would make us highlanders popular alright, but for the negative reason. I'd say that that reporter was very accurate. Very accurate in misleading his audience.
Did he or she have a source? Yes he did. One of the strawberry farmers who said that around 80 percent of the strawberries were affected by the cold climate, typhoon "Bising" and acid rain. But unfortunately, was not named.
If so, did we have any tropical disturbance last week and did it really rain that hard that the strawberries were being spoiled? You residents of Baguio and Benguet be the judge, but as for me, I did not experience any tropical depression last week, and we only had some drizzles last week not enough to spoil our strawberries.
And how about our highland vegetables particularly in Barangay Paoay, Atok, Benguet that have always been in the headlines in the local and national news during this time of the year for its frost stories.
The Benguet farmer folks are asking a public apology from a national network after reporting on the alleged shortage of supply of highland vegetables due to the effects of frost.
Both Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan and Benguet Farmers Marketing Cooperative Executive Manager Augusta Balanoy have said that contrary to the report, there was even an oversupply of highland veggies due to the crop programming by our Benguet farmers.
To this, I agree since I have been tasked by my network PTV-4 to report on the prevailing Baguio City Public Market prices coming from Manong Vic Calimlim every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for the benefit of the consumers and businessmen in Metro Manila and the neighboring provinces.
Balanoy explained that the oversupply is brought about by the maturity process that normally takes two months before it can harvested. But now, it only takes half a month due to the showers brought about by the fog in Atok.
If you’re from Baguio, you know what I mean. Some 30 or 40 years ago, we've always seen and experienced frost from the grasses at Melvin Jones and Burnham park, specifically during are morning stroll at the park. And showers brought about by the fog.
Of course, the prices of highland and lowland vegetables at the Baguio Public Market are higher than that of the La Trinidad trading post. But the farm gate price is even cheaper since this comes directly from the Benguet farmers.
Balanoy said that at present, first class roots vegetables cost from 1-3 pesos/ kilo, 5-12 pesos for cabbage, 12-15 pesos for broccoli, 8-19 pesos for potatoes, and the prevailing 150 per kilo for strawberries.
Fact is some 2.1 million kilograms of assorted vegetables have been transported by the 130,000 strong members of the farmers’ cooperative in the different places in the country.
The wrong information being given to the public will always have a negative repercussion to the vegetable farmers, businessmen, and the Benguet folks, including us from Baguio.
And I dare say, whoever made that report may have experienced the frost. It chilled his mind and left him frozen in time. Look beyond the horizon. Give homage to where your working place is for this is where you earn your living.
And furthermore, be accurate, accurate, and accurate! And don't let your mind be affected or afflicted by the frost!
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 25, 2013.