Countering ‘andap’ the Atok farmers’ way
Frost is a yearly occurrence especially on the cold months of December to February in some parts of Atok in Benguet.
When there are reports of incidents of frost, known locally as ‘andap’, some news outfits are quick to pick it up even insinuating possible shortage of and increase in prices of highland vegetables.
The Department of Agriculture, local officials and agriculture department of local government units usually have a hard time explaining that such ‘frost’ situation is limited and would not affect the supply or prices of vegetables.
Frost is defined as a “thin layer of ice on a solid surface, which forms from water vapor in an above freezing atmosphere coming in contact with a solid surface whose temperature is below freezing.”
Frost can be observed early morning around 4:00 but slowly dries up when the sun shines over the affected areas.
In Sacduan, Englandad in Barangay Paoay, Atok which is a low-lying area, frost started to be experienced last December until this month when the temperature have been dropping, said Mayor Peter Alos. But he assured there is very minimal effect to the farms.
Alos explained that frost usually occur in shaded portions below mountainous areas where there is less flow of air and where there is source of water like river. Over the years, farmers have learned ways of countering ‘andap’ thus minimizing its impact to vegetable farms.
Farmers nowadays know how to deal with the occurrence, said Councilor Crizaldo Bacbac. They do not plant during the cold season, although there are others who take the risk and still plant hoping that their crops will overcome the impact.
Bacbac said andap affects mostly potato leaves as they easily wither and get burned. The frost coats the leaves and when they dry, get burned from the sunlight. Apart from potatoes, wongbok (Chinese cabbage), and cabbage are not resistant to frost.
One technique farmers do to remove the settled frost is through the use of sprinkler. This is done before the sunlight, Paoay Barangay Captain Leo Cawaing said. This releases latent heat, preventing freezing of the tissues of the plants.
The Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) had recently installed a temperature gauge, said Bacbac.
The lowest temperature recorded in Baguio City this year so far was at 9.2 degrees Celsius on January 28. Temperature in Atok was estimated to be lower by 3°C than in Baguio.
Previously, the DA and the LGUs have made some interventions for frost like constructing mini dams along a creek in Paoay, and built green houses.
Paoay which is estimated to be 1,675.4 meters above sea level is where the highest point in the Philippine Highway System is located along the Halsema Highway. Sakura trees also thrive in Paoay. **JDP/SCA-PIA-CAR, Benguet