Monday, December 17, 2018

Atok farmers reeling from hailstorm

BENGUET. A farmer in La Trinidad, Benguet tends to his lettuce and strawberry plants. In nearby Atok, farmers are still reeling from the loss of their vegetable crops following an almost one hour of hailstorm on Saturday. (Milo Brioso)

ATOK officials have yet to assess the extent of damages on the vegetables brought about by the almost one hour hail storm wreaking havoc in 26.5 hectares of farmland in Barangay Paoay.

Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) agriculturist Cherry Sano said based on their initial assessment, some P2.5 million worth of highland vegetables were damaged Saturday afternoon, April 21, like potatoes and cabbages.

On April 22, Department of Agriculture-Cordillera regional coordinator of high value crops development program Joan Bacbac conducted a pre- assessment evaluation on the farms in Paoay.

Last Monday, the Atok MAO conducted an official onsite and data collection of the total affected farms, specific vegetable crops damage and areas affected.

“Once hail poured down, greenhouse gutters were mainly destroyed prior to the heavy amount of collected ice,” said Sano.

Benguet Federation Marketing Cooperative general manager Augusta Balanoy in a report indicated most damages were incurred by potatoes, carrot, Chinese cabbage and cabbage in Paoay and a portion of Cattubo until the highest point area.

Hailstones are caused with the combination of warm, moist and stormy weather conditions.

Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said hail is caused by a severe thunderstorm that falls at a speed of over 100 kilometers per hour. Hail is formed when an area is too hot to cause increased water vapor that may exceed the freezing level where water vapor can freeze and become ice.


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