Single Mom Makes A Living through Rice and Soybean Coffee Business
Raising children and sending then to school is three times harder for a single mom like Sarah Concepcion Dabucun. Facing the pangs and hardships of parenthood alone, she needs to exert more effort to make a living and invest in her kids future.
After finishing Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac, Ilocos Norte in 1995, Sarah hoped to work as an employee. However, she went back to Ilocos Norte and became a rice farmer instead. After several years of being a rice farmer, however, her family’s life did not improve much.
As the prices of commodities continuously rose, Sarah decided to go into peanut butter production to add value to her harvest. However, this business venture did not prosper due to stiff competition among the commercial brands. But Sarah did not lose hope. Armed with determination and love for her children, she was willing to try another business.
Fortunately during that time, Dr. Carmelo Esteban, director of the Extension Office of MMSU, saw the potential of rice coffee production in the local market. He later suggested to Sarah to add value to her rice harvest by producing rice coffee. She, on one hand, found Dr. Esteban’s advice practical and promising because rice is available anytime, anywhere.
With only P5,000 capital, Sarah started producing rice and soybean coffee in the backyard of their house in Barangay Sinnamar, Banna, Ilocos Norte. She used the money to buy a vat, kitchen utensils needed for roasting, manual grinder, and two bags of rice. She found out then that she could produce 48 kg of rice coffee from a bag of rice.
Being new in the business, Sarah needed to find a market for her rice and soybean coffee. Luckily, her friends at MMSU helped her market her product and even bought some of it.
But since her business was just starting that time, she wasn’t able to have a big market due to low production capacity and unattractive packaging. But that dilemma didn’t last long because in 2005, Sarah was finally able to boost her business.
Through the Science and Technology Enterprise Assistance Mechanism – Municipal Science and Technology Program (STEAM-MSTAP), led by the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI), the productivity and competitiveness of Sarah’s rural enterprise improved.
She now has a mechanical roaster, grinder, stainless preparation table and basins, heat gun, containers, and display cabinet. Moreover, DOST’s Packaging R&D Center designed a much better label, which includes a nutrition analysis and barcode, for her products.
Now that Sarah’s rice and soybean coffee come in a transparent plastic bottle with
an attractive label, it’s not anymore surprising to know why her products were able to enter different grocery stores including the biggest supermarket in Laoag City-the 5 Sisters Superstore. What she started simply back then in their backyard has become a growing enterprise; her small business is now the so-called SCUFYND Food Products.
Sarah’s business is definitely booming in fact, she now employs three regular workers-and it will flourish more in the years to come because rice and soybean coffee are very good alternatives to coffee. It’s not only delicious, it’s also good for people who suffer from heart ailment.
Presently, the annual volume of Sarah’s products increased by more than 200 percent (from ,1,152 kg to 3,885 kg). Likewise, her annual net income rose from P84,000 to P289,806.
On the surface, the fruits of her hardships and hard work are measured financially. But digging deeper, nothing can surpass the happiness and fulfillment that a single mom, like Sarah, feels when she is able to provide a better life and promising future for her children.
“We now have better food on the table, the kids are in school, and I am now continuing the construction of our house,” Sarah said.