By Vina Medenilla
George Allen M. Callora, 28, an agripreneur from Davao City, is a fan of anything spicy.
In hopes of consuming spicier chilies, he collected seeds of superhot chili varieties from different parts of the world and grew them in containers.
When Callora needed financial support to pay for his son’s medication, he turned this hobby into a business.
In November 2018, Callora and his wife produced a chili product line for extra income.
Since their superhot chilies at home aren’t enough to create products like hot sauce, they teamed up with three farms owned by their friends to produce the large amounts of chili needed to make the value-added products.
On top of this, they began selling seeds and seedlings of superhot chilies like Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (TMS) Chocolate, and habanero (red and yellow).
Unfortunately, they lost their son to a congenital birth defect a year and three months later. They kept the chili business in memory of their little one and named it after him.
No land, no problem
They work with partner farms by giving them free planting materials and providing them access to technology. What the farms grow, the Calloras buy.
The couple also continues to grow chilies at home. They cultivate the world’s hottest pepper, Carolina Reaper, along with chili peppers of different types, including Golden Primotalii, Chocolate Primotalii, Red Primotalii, 7 Pot Primo (red and yellow varieties), habanero, ghost pepper or bhut jolokia, Count Dracula, aji charapita, Bhut Jolokia Assam, and TMS choco.
They grow them from seeds in a potting mix containing vermicast, carbonized rice hull (CRH), and garden soil.
After one to two weeks, when seeds start to sprout, they fertilize them with vermicast or vermitea.
“The seedlings will be ready to be transferred to the field after a month and a half. We water them every other day until harvest, depending on the weather,” said Callora.
Harvest takes place every two weeks. Each collection can provide them up to 120 kilos of chili peppers. According to the grower, the harvest season can last up to four to six months.
Chilies are primarily grown to meet the demands of their product line. Excess crops are sold to restaurants and other hot sauce makers.
The Calloras’ agribusiness, Nesta’s Chili Co., offers chili powder, hot sauce (two variants: Carolina Reaper and mango habanero), chili garlic paste, and spiced vinegar.
The prices of hot sauce range from P150 to P400 per bottle.
Today, the Calloras plan to get a certification from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) so that their products can enter the global market.
Photos courtesy of George Allen M. Callora
For more information, visit Nesta’s Chili Co.