LEA CANTO dreams of seeing an array of coffee packs produced by community volunteers in the town of San Dionisio in the big supermarkets to increase their income and same time help one of Iloilo’s Ati communities.
Lea says they are now introducing a new product in the market, the native coffee with stevia. It is a new addition to their list of products aside from moringa powder, ginger, lemongrass, and turmeric brew.
The coffee with stevia makes their product different from other commercial coffee products available in the market, she says.
Lea says they buy their coffee grounds from Kape Miro, from the Ati community in Barangay Nagpana, Barotac Viejo. The coffee grounds are mixed with stevia and put in individual drip bags for easy use.
The stevia, turmeric, ginger, and lemongrass were packed by the San Dionisio Multi-Sectoral Agriculture Cooperative.
Lea says they have to upgrade their product to respond to the need of the consumers. “Our coffee product is good for a diabetic person since we are using stevia as a sweetener.”
Every kilo of ground coffee they bought means more income and work for the Ati community. They were able to establish a link with the help of former Kalahi-CIDSS Area Coordinator Zen Vega.
Lea is one of the enterprising women who pursued the livelihood program provided by Kalahi-CIDSS for the town’s women.
Canto’s group availed of a P1.5 million livelihood project from Kalahi-CIDSS years ago. It includes a building to house their dryer, dessicator among others for its livelihood project.
Lea admits they have to improve their packaging and same time eye for approval from the Food and Drug Administration. At present, they are coordinating with other agencies and the local government of San Dionisio to enhance their products.
The group also sought the assistance of the Department of Science and Technology and Department of Trade and Industry to further improve their coffee products and ginger brews.
Canto, who is also, the president of the Bondulan Rural Improvement Association says she wants to create a sustainability path for their products to increase income.
She adds small farmers sell their ginger, turmeric, and other herbs for their brews. We encourage them to continue planting since the demand for brews especially the ginger is high during this pandemic.
The group is also requesting our farmers or households to plant more stevia for their coffee products. Stevia is an important component of our new product. It has to be sustained, she says.
With the herbal products from San Dionisio and coffee grounds from Barangay Nagpana, there would be an increase in income for both of us, says Canto.#