Benzone Sepe Apple Tree
Agriculture student Benzone Sepe grew an apple tree in Digos and is now harvesting its fruits. Credits to Benzone Sepe social media.

Good news coming out of Digos City, Davao del Sur! Davao del Sur State College’s Agriculture Technology graduate Benzone Kennedy Franes Sepe was able to grow an apple tree and successfully harvested several fruits from it.

It is somewhat a big deal because it is very difficult to grow apple in a tropical country like the Philippines. Benzone Sepe’s project started in 2014 when he decided to plant three seeds from an apple that he just ate in his backyard.

The three seeds he planted germinated but after several months, two of the seedlings died. The third seemed to be resilient and kept growing. So Benzone started researching how to properly grow an apple.

“I pruned the plant but it did not end there. I found out a proper way on the internet and that the branch should be bent for sunlight exposure,” Sepe said.

In January 2018, after several years of nurturing and patience, he was pleasantly surprised when he noticed flowers from the tree. After a few months of waiting, Benzone proudly harvested four pinkish-red apples the size as big as a fist.

Asked about the taste, Sepe shared, “I cannot see any difference between that and a commercial apple because the juiciness and crunchiness are still there.”

Benzone Sepe has posted videos on Kapatagan Apple Orchard Digos City Benzone YouTube Channel following the growth of his apple tree and his apple-picking time.

Regional director of the Department of Agriculture Region XI Bong Oñate revealed to ABSCBN news that Bernzone Sepe’s feat is the first successful growth of an apple tree in Mindanao.

Apple farmers in other countries reveal that apples from seeds are never the same from the parent tree. If they want new varieties they would plant many seeds, wait until it bears fruits, and choose from their desirable characteristics to become a “cultivar” (a variety selected for production from selective breeding). They propagate the selected tree by grafting it.

If Benzone Sese’s apple tree does well, the tree could be a cultivar, a source tree. After a few years, we might hear about Digos City, Davao del Sur showcasing agri-tourism on Benzone’s Apple Orchard! By then Apple Boy RJ Garcia can source his charity apples locally!

Filipino farm production innovation has been developed in universities, particularly in Benguet State University which developed lure traps to beat coffee pests and enhanced strawberry production in the Cordilleras.

WATCH this video of apple-picking by Benzone Sepe and SEND cheers in the comments below!

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