By Marjorie Gorospe
INDANG, CAVITE– Couple Eddie and Shirley Silan did not expect that planting an unfamiliar fruit in their backyard will provide them a sustainable livelihood.
According to Shirley, her husband Eddie was only curious about what their foreign neighbor was planting. He then decided to also plant the same vine at their backyard. The unfamiliar plant turned out to be dragon fruit.
Dragon fruit is native to Mexico but most Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Taiwan also cultivate these fruits due to high market demand. The fruit is believed to have anti-oxidants and helps enhance metabolism.
“The dragon fruit also helps moisturize and smoothen skin and reduce hypertension,” Shirley says, adding that their farm was soon chosen by a local university to study the dragon fruit.
After 11 years, Silan’s Agri Farm became known as one the top growers of dragon fruit in Cavite.
Shirley says dragon fruit is unlike any seasonal fruits. The fruit comes from a vine that only bears fruit after a year of planting that’s why it could really be challenging to start a business from it.
“You have to wait for a year before you can harvest. Most growers often give up and find an alternative livelihood” Shirley says.
Dragon fruit can really be expensive. Shirley says they sell it P100 per piece. One can buy a stem for P100 if you want to plant it in your own backyard.
To help sustain the business, Shirley says she consulted with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) to learn how to maximize the use of unsold fruits.
“We came up with products from dragon fruits such as jam, juice, wine, soap, and vinegar from fruit extracts,” Shirley says.
As for those who also want to start a dragon fruit business, Shirley says that they just need to be patient and just find other ways on how they can make the dragon fruit business flourish.
Get more information about Silan’s Agri Farm
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