From the fields and farms all the way to your cup, Herba Monte has been passionate about connecting people with the power of organically grown produce from the rich soil of Negros Oriental. Herba Monte joyfully promotes the health and wellness of the community, with gratitude to the hardworking farmers who have contributed to its success. But behind every ground of success are stories of humble beginnings, countless challenges, lessons learned, and a helping hand from the Department of Trade and Industry.

Herba monte, located in Apolong, Valencia, Negros Oriental, was established in 2019. They offer a diverse selection of healthy teas made from ginger, turmeric, and 15 plants and herbs. Their mission is to produce products that promote personal wellness and contribute to improving the health of the community.

Herba Monte was founded by Mrs. Nelsa Shahidi, the proud daughter of a farmer. Growing up, she experienced the challenges of economic hardship firsthand. In her early years, Nelsa sought employment abroad, where she met her husband. With her husband’s previous business experience in the USA, and her innate passion for entrepreneurship, they embarked on their business venture together, initially driven by the need to provide for their family.

Herba Monte joyfully works to promote the health and well-being of individuals within the community. The company’s foundation is built on the desire to create healthy products that benefit everyone involved, especially the hardworking farmers and their families. Herba Monte sources its raw materials directly from local farmers and forms a group of potential supplier farmers from the community, encouraging them to grow root crops in their backyards and promoting sustainability through community farming initiatives.

However, being a farmer’s daughter is not a prerequisite for a career in agriculture. Reflecting on the challenges of her early years, Nelsa recalls the challenges of marketing and promoting their products as newcomers to a market where there was little interest in new products. Nelsa fondly recalls the perseverance that got them through. She understands the importance of acquiring the necessary skills and actively seeks mentorship from those who can provide the knowledge she needs. Despite their initial uncertainty, they found hope in the support of organizations like the DTI, which provided essential business development training to impart knowledge and cultivate skills in business management. The DTI Negros Oriental, particularly through its OTOP program, has been instrumental in working together to create a brighter future for Herba Monte.

With the joint effort and full support of the provincial team, a series of training sessions were conducted to improve their products. These included seminars on food safety, mandatory food labelling requirements, good manufacturing practice (GMP), preparation of GMP implementation plans, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and risk management plans (RMPs). In addition, capacity building sessions on shelf-life determination of pre-packaged processed foods were conducted and business consulting services were provided to assist in obtaining the FDA operating license. These measures ensure that products are produced safely, legally and with high quality. They also enrolled in the Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) program to scale up and further learn how to run a business with a competent mentor. With this training, Herba Monte’s management is now equipped with the knowledge and confidence to run their business.

With the knowledge she has gained through various trainings and seminars, this woman entrepreneur is inspiring other women to not hold back and to believe in themselves. Nelsa expresses her sincere gratitude to DTI, “We are really grateful for this.” Her business is now thriving, and with the recent US FDA approval, she continues to expand her reach both locally and internationally.

Beyond entrepreneurship, Nelsa is a devoted mother who understands the sacrifices required to provide for her family. Her experience and empathy drive her belief that her healthy product should benefit everyone involved – those who create it and those who consume it. With a focus on empowering women, she founded her company, Herb R Us, which primarily employs women and mothers. Nelsa believes in equal rights for women in the workforce, seeing them as capable of far more than just being mothers. With this in mind, she extends opportunities to women in her community, valuing their potential over prior work experience and supporting their career development.  “I hope that one day I can provide more jobs for the people around me, especially women. All of our workers are women, and I want to empower them, especially mothers,” Nelsa said in an interview.

They share their success with their supplier farmers and workers, giving them bonuses and support such as school supplies and educational assistance for their children. They strive to promote a healthy and beneficial way of life for everyone involved, from the farmers to the end consumers who have contributed to their success. For all these achievements, Nelsa is overwhelmed with hope that these interventions will lead to long-term growth, increase the value of their product and improve the economic wellbeing of all involved.

More than ever, this company has become a beacon of hope and the epitome of success, growing from humble beginnings. Yet in the midst of their growth, they remain steadfastly rooted, acknowledging the guiding hand of God at every step of their journey. Herba Monte has become one of the most successful businesses in Negros Oriental today.

As their hard work graces your table, from your first cup of morning tea to the end of a farmer’s day, know that none of this would be possible without the caring people who are dedicated to the work of growing, harvesting, processing and serving.

Their determination is a testament to their love and commitment. With every drink you take, you become part of their journey, supporting their dreams and giving them all the chance of a better future. The treasures of this land, labored to your cup, bring joy with every drop. With Herba monte.

Interested customers may reach Nelsa via her Facebook page: Herba Monte. For more information on local products and produce proudly made from Negros Oriental, visit DTI Negros Oriental Facebook page. (Success Story/DTI Region 7 Central Visayas).