Almira Silva and her husband standing next to a shelf of Mira’s Turmeric Products.As a wife of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), Almira Silva wanted to help her husband earn additional income for their family. She tried piggery and organic farming business in 2014.

Soon after, without any formal plan to venture into an additional business, she tried planting turmeric and ginger just to use a small portion of their farm and their organic compost. She did not think that this would lead to a successful venture.

Planting Success

After merely a year of planting ginger and turmeric in San Salvador, Lipa City, Batangas, Almira ended up reaping up to 1,400 kilos—a far cry from 67 kilos of turmeric and ginger when they started. She did not know what to do with the supplies. “There were buyers, but they were offering to purchase at a very low price,” Almira recalled.

It was during that time when Almira thought of processing the organic produce, and turn these into salabat tea powder. Using Php 1,000 as capital, Almira only used the available equipment in their house—most were actually for meat processing.

In 2015, Almira officially established Mira’s Turmeric Products. The name of the business came from the word myrrh, one of the gifts offered to Jesus mentioned in the Bible. “Every time Mira’s produces something, it means I am offering a gift to God. Every action I do, I offer it to the Lord,” Almira explained.

“When we were just starting, I had to do the entire process on my own,” Almira shared. She added that she has always been passionate in cooking and this helped her find the perfect formulation for their turmeric and ginger brew. Almira also got ideas from cooking videos posted online.

She sold the initial batch of salabat to her friends and relatives, who all gave positive feedback.

The orders kept on coming, and Almira needed extra hands to cope with the demand. Today, Almira has 14 workers in the production side, while 10 more workers are assigned in the farm.

Challenges and Hiccups

Washed roots of turmeric plant, ready for processing

Almira also had her share in experiencing challenges and hiccups on the way to success.

“There were times when the orders were too overwhelming, and my husband and I had to work 24 hours,” Almira shared.

She mentioned that there was an instance when their one-month worth of production was sold out in just two days. “This meant working almost 24/7 to deliver the orders of our buyers,” she said.

In 2015, Almira would just need 10 kilos per day. But with the current demand for their products, they need to process 300 kilos of turmeric per day or a 2,900% increase.

While the work could be tedious, Almira emphasized that she is glad that the business has grown this big and that it does not help just her family but the entire community as well.

Ripple Effect

Employees of Mira’s Turmeric Products washing the turmeric roots

Almira is fulfilled that the business allows her to help other people as well. Aside from her direct employees, she also gets others who are part of the value chain.

Since the demand for Mira’s Turmeric Products has grown exponentially, Almira admitted that their supply is often not enough. This pushed her to get ginger and turmeric from other farmers even if they have their own farm. She also gets the other raw materials from farmers in Batangas.

“We get our raw materials from cooperatives, whose members are local farmers. We get our coco sugar and honey from them,” she shared.

Aside from cooperatives and farmers, Almira also has several distributors—many of whom are housewives. This means they are given the chance to earn extra money to help provide for their families.

Today, Mira’s Turmeric Products are not just sold in small retail stores. Their salabat tea powder can also be bought in pasalubong outlets, and stores overseas and big supermarkets such as Robinsons, All Day, Fisher Mall and SM. At least five big companies get their turmeric products from Mira’s.

“We tried our luck then, and sent these companies some samples. Eventually, it got approved and we worked on the required documents,” Almira mentioned.

Assistance from DTI

Mira’s Turmeric Products owner Almira Silva joining her employees in cooking the turmeric roots

An employee of Mira’s Turmeric Products scooping turmeric powder to be weighed before being packed

In 2017, Mira’s Turmeric Products started exporting to other countries. Their products have reached Singapore, India, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

Almira said this could be attributed to the international trade fairs they attended. They were able to participate through the assistance of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Almira shared that she also attended the Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) Program organized by the DTI and Go Negosyo, which equipped her with additional knowledge in running a business.

“The KMME Program helped me a lot in improving the business plan I had in mind. I also gained important insights on how to do proper branding in this business,” she added.

Almira applied the things she learned from the program in her own business. It was from this where she learned how to plan the expansion of the business.

Almira has received the Outstanding Agricultural Entrepreneur Award from the provincial government of Batangas, a validation of her hard work in making the venture succeed.

An employee of Mira’s Turmeric Products sealing the packs of the products

Group shot of Mira’s Turmeric Products employees

Future Plans

The success of Mira’s Turmeric Products, according to Mira, did not happen overnight. It required effort, time, and knowledge to reach the place where it is now.

“We make sure that we innovate and offer something new to our clients,” Almira said. “We always listen to our customers.”

“We have various variants now because our buyers were looking for more,” Almira shared. She said her previous customers were looking for kapeng barako and other flavors of tea. Hence, they decided to introduce additional products, which also became a hit among their buyers.

Moving forward, Almira aims to gain process certifications of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) to be able to reach more segments of the market, particularly the United States and Europe.

For others who want to venture into a business, Almira has this tip: “Do not be afraid to learn. Do not be afraid to fail. That’s how we learn.”

Some of Mira’s Turmeric Products including packs of herbal tea powder, pure moringo powder, and pure turmeric powder