Unlocking Ability in Disabilities thru Coco Food Processing

Fri, 11/24/2023 - 14:54
Coco food processing for PWD

SOGOD, Southern Leyte - In a pursuit of greater inclusivity, the government has expanded its initiatives to provide more opportunities and activities for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). Guided by the principles set forth in the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, the government is committed to integrating PWDs into the mainstream of society, facilitating their journey towards becoming more productive citizens. This calls for the provision of opportunities that empower PWDs to enhance their skills, build confidence, and foster self-reliance, ultimately enabling them to contribute meaningfully to society.

Supporting such initiatives, ATI-RTC 8 conducted a Training on Coconut Food Processing on October 24-26, 2023 for the Persons with Disabilities in Sogod, Southern Leyte. The training is ATI’s response in helping PWDs undertake projects such as processing of different coco-based products which are abundant in their area. It also encouraged PWDs to become entrepreneurs which will contribute to a productive life and productive economy. 

Several food products can be derived from coconut such as Virgin Coconut Oil, Kalamay, and Buko Juice using mature coconut. During the hands-on activities, participants were able to extract coconut milk from coco meat to be further processed into VCO. Good Manufacturing Practices were also discussed to ensure that processed food items are safe to be consumed. Packaging and Labelling is also important to ensure the identity of the product and safeguards products from external factors such as contaminants.

“From the discussions, I learned about the benefits we can receive as PWDs and the opportunities we can get from coconut.” Ms. Rosenda Angcoy shared her impression. She stated that from the fruit itself, a lot of products can be processed. A lot more if they utilize the leaves until its roots. She also highlighted what she’s learned from GMP. For her, it is important to have not just clean materials but clean manufacturers as well. “I can see that within our group, we have unity. The organization is best when it is united and understanding.” She hopes that a PWD led store will be established in Sogod with delicacies such as kalamay, suman, and buko pie.

Twenty-one (21) participants took part in the training conducted at Bendicar’s Farm and Food Products in Sogod. This initiative also aimed to inspire Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to embark on entrepreneurial endeavors, fostering both a more productive individual life and a more fruitful economy.

Rosenda added, “Let’s ditch the ‘Dis’ in disabilities, now, we’re Persons with Abilities.”