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Davao City, Philippines

Kadayawan Agri-Trade Fair 2019 in full bloom

August 15, 2019 - Thursday 2:08 PM by Kenneth Paul Senarillos

Article Banner Image GREEN THUMBS. Joyce Opiano of Highlander Flower Garden, Maria Victoria Jimenez of Shades of Green Garden, Cirilo Chua of Chua’s Orchid Garden, Noime Senarillos of Southscape Gardens, Lorena Tatoy of Tatoy Fruit Nursery, and Vivencio Gallego of Sam’s Garden. KENNETH PAUL SENARILLOS

DAVAO CITY -- What used to be a bare parking lot is now a lush and vibrant garden haven for green thumbs as exhibitors converge at the SM Annex Grounds in Quimpo Boulevard, Matina, Davao City for the Kadayawan Agri-Trade Fair 2019.

“Kadayawan Agri-Trade Fair is a group of people who are selling plants, furniture, fruit tree seedlings, and fruits,” said Vivencio Gallego, the president of the Mindanao Garden Club and Head Organizer of the Agri-Trade Fair.

With just a few exhibitors and shorter display duration during its inception in the early 1980s, the Kadayawan Agri-Trade Fair has now become the biggest in the Philippines, according to Gallego.

Mga 100 lang ang mga nangapil sauna. Pero karon, 450 kabuok ang naga-apil. Last year, 380. Every year, ga-increase ng ga-increase,” he said.

(Only 100 exhibitors joined before. But now, we have 450 exhibitors. Last year, we had 380. It increases every year.)

“This is the only trade fair in the Philippines that is long, which is one month,” he added.

Plant enthusiasts can choose from a plethora of products in the Agri-Trade Fair such as the sought after Waling-Waling and other orchid varieties, succulents, ornamental plants, potted herbs, dwarf fruit tree seedlings, fertilizers, wooden furniture, custom huts, and even landscaping materials.

GROW TOGETHER. Mrs. Eltanan arranges her dish garden while her husband waters a plant at the Highlander Flower Garden stall inside the Kadayawan Agri-Trade Fair 2019. KENNETH PAUL SENARILLOS

Over the years, the Agri-Trade Fair has become a venue for plant growers from the Davao Region and its neighboring provinces to showcase the rich flora of Mindanao and make a living out of it.

Daghan pud ug mga turista na gadayo diri labi na sa Kadayawan. Makatabang gyud siya sa pagpaskwela, sa amoang panginahanglan sa pang-adlaw-adlaw, sa pagsweldo sa taohan, ug bayad pud sa kuryente ug tubig,” said Lorena Tatoy of Tatoy Fruit Nursery.

(There are a lot of tourists who visit here in the exhibit, especially during Kadayawan. The profit from the exhibit helps us in our daily needs and expenses such as our children’s schooling, workers’ pay, and water and electricity bills.)

Focusing on their plant business has been a good choice for exhibitors.

Dako kaayo ug overhead expenses sa boutique; ang market is not that good. Sa plants, easy pud siya ma-propagate. Every time na mag saha, money na man siya. So, you have to propagate and propagate,” said Joyce Opiano of Highlander Flower Garden who has been a full-time succulent grower for one year after closing her boutique business in 2018.

(The overhead expenses in the boutique business is huge and the market is not that good. It is very easy to propagate plants. It is already money every time they produce their shoot. So, you have to propagate and propagate.)

GARDEN POTS. The assorted garden pots of Southscape Gardens which are good for both indoor and outdoor garden settings. KENNETH PAUL SENARILLOS

A good market place and big return of investment are just cherries on top for the plant growers of the Agri-Trade Fair. What makes them stay in the business is their passion for their craft.

Ang passion ko for plants, it’s like having a baby. Kung bago ang halaman mo, parang very fragile—it needs tender loving care; you put your heart into it,” said Maria Victoria Jimenez of Shades of Green Garden.

(My passion for plants is like having a baby. If your plant is new and very fragile—it needs tender loving care; you put your heart into it.)

“If the plants are very hard to grow, especially mapa-flower mo, mapa-grow mo siya beautifully from something that you don’t expect, parang iba ang feeling,” she added.

(If you can cultivate a very hard to grow plant and make it flower beautifully, it elicits a different feeling.)

The organizers expect 10,000 visitors for the Agri-Trade Fair’s month-long run. The Kadayawan Agri-Trade Fair runs from August 1 to September 1 and is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

MONTH-LONG ATTRACTION. Rogelio and Cecilia Palaca stop by the Southscape Gardens stall and pose for the camera as they tour the Kadayawan Agri-Trade Fair at the SM Annex Grounds in Quimpo Boulevard, Matina, Davao City. KENNETH PAUL SENARILLOS