LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (Feb. 22) — The Benguet the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (Opag) pegged at P106,744.76 the actual cost of damage from frost brought by the recent cold spell late last month, far lower than the P10 million initially estimated for media by Atok Mayor Concepcion Balao.
Provincial Agriculturist Lolita Bentres, also reported to the Benguet provincial board the frost that hit Benguet last January 30 affected only 40 farmers and 6.6 hectares.
Bentres said her report was based on an ocular investigation in Paoay, Atok; Madaymen, all in Kibungan town; and Balili, in Mankayan last February 2 conducted by her office. Most affected produce were cabbage, potato, carrots, green onions, carnation and cala lilies.
Earlier Bentres said the damage was minimal, sporadic and manageable. She also explained that farmers were able to mitigate the problem because frost is a common occurrence in these areas.
Bentres also explained farmers in the affected areas did not harvest their cabbage prior to the frost because the buying price dropped to P2 per kilo. She said farmers decided to leave the cabbages to turn into compost materials for fertilizers for the next cropping season.
Earlier Balao told Baguio media the total crop damage amounted to P10 M prompting her office to push for the declaration of a state of calamity. # Kim Quitasol for NORDIS