DILIMAN, Quezon City—About 10 years ago, ship repair business owner Ma. Candelaria Caballes was encouraged to try her hands on grape farming but her first attempt did not bear fruit.
In 2014, Caballes tried planting grapes again in a more accessible 1,000-square-meter piece of land. After six months, she was already able to harvest and this was the start of what would be a lucrative farm business.
Caballes shared this story on air last February 5, 2022, with "Agri Asenso" hosts Henry Uri of DZRH and Niet Arceo, OIC-Assistant Director of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI).
“At first, I was not really convinced with the quality of the variety of grapes being grown here. I was thinking of using it for processing only, particularly for wine. However, as time passed by, I learned from local grape enthusiasts that there are new varieties coming to the Philippines. So, during the pandemic, we tried growing other varieties,” she said.
These varieties are from Ukraine, Japan, and Spain which are all suitable for propagation in the Philippines. Now, Caballes grows a total of 40 to 50 varieties of grapes in MBX Grapes Vineyard, an ATI-certified Learning Site for Agriculture in Brgy. Tambler, General Santos City.
Caballes further clarified that local planting conditions are actually appropriate for grape farming especially since grapes require 100 percent sunlight and can grow in any type of soil.
“During land preparation, however, it is best to put organic matter like manure and carbonized rice hull,” she shared.
Proper crop management especially before the first fruiting is crucial, according to Caballes. Likewise, intercropping is discouraged to ensure that the plants get all the nutrition they need.
At present, Caballes sells grapes at Php600 per kilo through pick-and-pay in her farm. Aside from fresh grapes, she also sells wine, grape jam, grape jelly, pickled grapes, grape cider, and grape puree.
Caballes also shared other tips to ensure a successful grape farming business with “Agri Asenso” viewers and listeners. Her teleradyo interview is available for streaming on the ATI’s Facebook page and the DZRH YouTube channel.