When super typhoon Yolanda struck parts of Visayas in November 2013, the Rise Mo Women’s Group in Ormoc, Leyte was affected.
The roof of the building housing their Rice-Mongo-Sesame Ready-to-Cook food blend factory was partially damaged, allowing rainwater to enter the facility and destroy their raw materials, particularly the uncooked rice (bigas) and mung beans (mongo).
Rice-Mongo-Sesame Ready-to-Cook food blend is baby food that contains the essential fatty acids. The women’s group, in fact, got their name from this product (Rise Mo = rice, sesame, mongo) which forms their livelihood.
As a result, the wet uncooked rice and mung beans were rendered useless and thus, were either thrown away or given to the local government for distribution to piggeries.
To have the roof repaired and finance a new supply of raw materials, the Rise Mo Women’s Group members pooled resources from their own earnings. “Sayang naman kung hindi mabigyan yung mga order” (We already had orders and it would be a pity if we cannot deliver the products), said Luz Pernites, president of Rise Mo Women’s Group which is owned by the local government unit.
It was a good thing their group venture is earning well, thanks to the assistance provided by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 8’s – Grants-In-Aid Program and DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute’s (DOST-FNRI) Complimentary Food Programs.
The assistance package consisted of the following: training on the processing of the product (RISEMO); provision of modern equipment and manpower training on the proper use and handling of these equipment. These equipment are a roasting machine, grinder, mixer, and flour mill machine which turns the ingredients into powder form.
Acquisition of the equipment translated to greater efficiency in the cooking process and the weighing of raw materials. The new grinder, in particular, hastened the grinding process and produced mung beans which are more finely ground. The workers, which number to 20, also pay more attention to cleanliness now, making sure that materials and finished products are kept safe and uncontaminated.
Because of these, product quality improved, thus attracting more buyers for their unique and nutritious food blend. “Lumaki ang kita namin” (Our earnings grew), Pernites said.
Eight months after Yolanda, the factory, built in November 2012, is back on its toes as the Rise Mo Women’s Group waits for the working capital to be provided by the local government as assistance for their post-Yolanda rehabilitation efforts.
Pernites, for her part, is hopeful about the future. After all, Pernites and company did not have the factory and all those modern food processing equipment once. But once they did acquire these opportunities, their lives changed. Indeed, there is hope.
The mixer (above) and the roasting machine are among the equipment acquired by the Rise Mo Women’s Group.