Benzone Kennedy Sepe: Successfully Grows 1st Apple Tree in Mindanao

From 1 to 300 Apple Trees!

Photo from Benezone Kennedy F. Sepe

[Cebu City] November 26, 2021- Agriculturist from Davao del Sur, Benzone Kennedy Sepe is the first to prove the viability of cultivating apples in a tropical country with his farm apple farm in from 1 to 300 cultivated apple trees. 

Growing apples (Malus Domestica) in a tropical country like the Philippines is complicated, especially given the humid and warm climate.

However, Benzone, 30, of Kapatagan, Digos City, discovered an opportunity out of curiosity in cultivating apple trees in his area. Particularly because his place is located in an upland area at the foot of Mount Apo, where the environment is cold and conducive to the production of exotic fruits.

In 2015, Benzone Kennedy Sepe began his effort to cultivate apples in his home after eating apples in the mall. He snatched three seeds from an apple he was eating on. He then began planting them in seashells and transferred them to seedling bags when they were about five inches tall.

When the immature apple saplings were six months old, Sepe planted them even though all of the seeds germinated, only one tree survived.

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During his visit to Korea, he became even more determined to plant apples. He read about farmers producing mangoes in greenhouses in local periodicals and wondered if it was also possible for apples. With this motivation and an apple tree in his backyard, he returned home and began researching apple planting.

Benzone Kennedy F. Sepe with his apples. Photo courtesy of Benzone

In September 2018, he began his harvest with 30 to 35 apples in the same tree. Apple seeds have a very low germination rate due to climate, so if you want to start growing apples, you have to plant as many as you can. 

Managing an apple tree must take patience and perseverance especially in high temperate areas. Apples in cold and low temperate climates take five to seven months to bear fruits. However, Benzone Kennedy Sepe experience only takes four months to start harvesting in his area. 

Photo from Manila Bulletin

And now, in 2021, Sepe happily enjoys the rewards of his labor, since he now has between 250 and 300 apple trees. He grows this fruit in three locations: his 600-square-meter garden, in front of their church, and on a half-hectare plot of ground he rents.

Sepe grows a variety of apples including Fuji, Golden Dorsett, Starking, Granny Smith, Gala, Redlove Odysso, Russet, and more.


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