Success from making chips

By Wenna B. Bendol with Nicolas Banquero and Noli Valenzuela

An array of newly-washed aprons in pink and blue colors neatly hanged in the clothesline in the front yard greeted visitors from the DSWD one fine Tuesday morning.

Rosemarie dela Rama packs the banana
 sticks her husband had just cooked.
Inside the small bamboo house was another refreshing sight to behold: a husband busy cleaning and preparing the raw materials for banana and taro chips.

Couple Rosemarie and Relihioso dela Rama, residents of Barangay Tubudan, San Remigio, Antique have been engaged in banana and taro chips business since two years ago.

"If he's not busy in our farm, he's really the one doing all the preparations and the cooking," Rosemarie declared in dialect. She is thankful that she doesn't have to work so hard because Relihioso is always there not only for their business but also in running their household and even taking care and looking after the needs of their young children.

The couple is blessed with three kids, the eldest of which is in Grade 3 and the youngest in Kinder 1.

Due to their sheer determination to provide their children a better future, they tapped whatever opportunities come their way. So when the Sustainable Livelihood Program was introduced in their barangay, Rosemarie didn't have second thoughts to join.

Rosemarie served as their group's treasurer and attended various livelihood skills training conducted by the DSWD and other private and public agencies.

Rosemarie is thankful that she doesn’t have 
to work so hard for their business because her 
husband, Relihioso, is always helping her.
In 2011, she attended the on-site livelihood training facilitated by Save the Children International, the world's leading independent organization for children operating in the Municipality of San Remigio, Antique. With the skills she acquired on taro and banana processing, she eventually ventured into the business.

Rosemarie’s active participation during community- based capability building trainings on Sustainable Livelihood Program pushed her to venture into small scale enterprise. She started with Php 5,000.00 and used it to buy the raw materials such as banana and taro. To augment her capital in the processing of food products, Bangon Tubudan SEA-K Association lent her money amounting to P10,000, which she used to purchase a sealer, weighing scale, chipper, cooking equipment and the rest as her working capital.

From a housewife, Rosemarie evolved into an entrepreneur and owned the King's Processed Food Products. Their products: taro chips, banana chips and banana sticks became favourite snacks not just by schoolchildren but also by other consumers and even tourists. In fact, they have already supplied to Shangri-La Hotel in Boracay, Aklan and the sales have been good.

With a number of pasalubong centers, schools and stores getting supply from King's, it is now earning an average of P13,000 a month.

"It's not very big but where else can you find that nowadays? It is what sustains us," Rosemarie shared.

Couple Rosemarie and Relihioso dela Rama with their youngest child, King. 
As an entrepreneur, Rosemarie explored other ways to improve her products and increase its marketability.

With the abundance of banana and taro in the upland areas of San Remigio, Rosemarie and Relihioso used it to their advantage and transformed them into value-added products. And to make them more enticing, they introduced flavours such as original, sweetened, barbecue, and cheese in variety of package that comes in 40g, 80g and 100g.

To ensure that there is abundant supply of raw materials, SLP helped Rosemarie encourage her fellow Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries to organize themselves into an association and attend various skills enhancement training on taro and banana processing.

Due to this endeavor, the trained members are now capable of supplying the King’s Processed Food Products with raw materials. Some of them have also evolved into entrepreneurs themselves through the banana and taro that they sell to the dela Ramas.

Both micro-enterprise development and employment generation has become an ally to support the rising business of Rosemarie and her family./dswd6


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