Couple's Chili Sauce Business Helped Their Davao Oriental Community Rise Above Adversity
Agriculture|July 2019

THE ABILITY of the Filipinos to rise up after every adversity has been proven time and again. That despite major calamities, almost everyone could still manage to offer a warm smile and see the goodness in everything. And the couple behind Ayana’s Siling Kinamayo, together with the hundreds of families in the Mindanao region, particularly in Davao Oriental, could very well epitomize this trait.

Sahlie P. Lacson

Ayana’s Siling Kinamayo (Ayana’s Native Chili Sauce) came into light in the aftermath of Typhoon Pablo, which hit the Mindanao region on December 4, 2012. Typhoon Pablo is considered the strongest tropical cyclone on record to ever affect the southern Filipino island of Mindanao, making landfall as a Category 5 super typhoon with winds of 175 mph. Coconut plantations, considered the top source of income among residents, particularly in the municipalities of Baganga, Cateel, and Boston in Davao Oriental, were heavily devastated. Aside from the lives lost, damage to infrastructure and crops were enormous.

However, with the intervention of DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), who is tasked to provide an alternative source of income to affected residents, and farmers, and other stakeholders, husband and wife Edlun and Maricel Ferrando promoted and initiated hot chili production and processing as one of the income generating projects, which became the centerpiece program in the area. Besides, chili production has a faster turnout compared to coconut.

HOW AYANA’S STARTED

Right after Typhoon Pablo’s devastation, the DTI conducted livelihood training seminars, mostly for women farmers in the area, and Maricel Ferrando was one of them. The DTI discovered Maricel’s knowledge in making hot sauce, which she served to her customers in her small carinderia in Baganga before the onset of Typhoon Pablo. They saw the market potential of the sauce, that is why they invited Maricel and her husband, Edlun, to attend further training and seminars on product development, branding, and marketing.

With an initial capital of just R1,000, the couple bought a blender for R700, and R300 was allotted for the purchase of ingredients such as chili, garlic, ginger, and salt. The DTI provided the packaging. With just the two of them initially doing all the work requirements, their first production of chili sauce proved successful.

It was in August 2013 when the couple first joined the National Trade Fair in SM Megamall for market testing, which rendered fruitful results. The DTI nonetheless saw the market potential of their products, and so helped them further improve their products through continuous training and seminars. It was there when their production requirement increased with the demand for a bigger volume of ingredients. Determined to help their community, they sourced their raw materials from the 35 chili farmers in their locality. These chili farmers, who were also trained by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the International Committee of the Red Cross after the onslaught of Typhoon Pablo, earn R120-R160 per kilo for the fresh chili, and R250-R400 per kilo for the dried chili. Ayana’s chili requirement per week is at 80100 kilos.

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