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On the right side are Mr.&Mrs.Efren Rapallo, Owner of Jea Natural Coffee, Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental. On the left side are DOST-Misamis Occidental staff, Provincial Director Eufresnie Ann Simbajon and Ms. Rogelyn Calago

The willingness to comply and the flexibility to accept change are the winning gauges of Jea Natural Coffee.

Jea Natural Coffee from Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental, has been producing roasted ground corn beverages for more than five years. It has been manufacturing its product using improvised roasting and grinding machines.

However, in 2020, it was as if a steaming, brewed cup of corn beverage was poured unto them when news came in that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tagged their product as "Unregistered" at the FDA website. Hence, an advisory to the public prohibiting purchase was published.

For Jea Natural Coffee, it was not a point of turning back but a call to press on and step up. Their goal is to upgrade its production equipment, establish a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)-compliant production facility, and acquire a License to Operate (LTO) from the FDA.

In the same year, Jea Natural Coffee applied for the Department of Science and Technology's Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) to realize its aspirations. By the 2nd quarter, the firm received the DOST-SETUP assistance to upgrade its production equipment. The program also includes enhancement of product label design, GMP-compliant production building layout, and technical support on the online application for LTO.

The start of the year 2021 favored them as the firm's application for LTO got approved. They also started their production using the upgraded equipment in an enhanced and GMP-compliant facility.

Jea Natural Coffee’s production capacity increased from 40kgs to 80kgs per production schedule with 6% to 27% increased average productivity improvement. Even with the pandemic, the firm was able to employ four production workers and additional two sale agents.

"Dako kayo ang natabang ug kabag-ohan ang nahatag sa DOST. Sauna maulaw mi if na’ay muanha sa buhatan kay mopalit. Karon proud na mi nga mupakita sa building ug mga materials. (DOST helped a lot in improving our production operations. Before, we were hesitant whenever customers visit our facility. Now we are proud to showcase our production building.)," said Ms. Jill Rapallo, owner of Jea Coffee.

“For Jea Natural Coffee, success did not happen overnight. It needs determination and partnership to brew one's goal successfully. For us, we are fortunate to partner with DOST “, Ms. Rapallo added.

With the willingness to accept technological innovation combined with partnership, a brew of success will surely be within reach. (Rogelyn C. Calago, DOST-X)