I met Ehje at a training course held as an activity in a USAID funded Peanut Collaborative Research Program (CRSP) project that I led in the Philippines for 11 years until 2007. She attended and brought with her a 4 oz. plastic container of peanut butter, and approached me during a coffee break to ask for an evaluation of her product. Litlle did I know then that her family had difficulty making ends meet, and that a she had scraped whatever means she had to try to attend our course--on peanut processing.
A few years have passed since that fateful day. This tiny, determined lady has, through a vison of success, hard work, some micro-financing, and a ton of common sense, graduated from being a 1 Kg per week casual preparer of peanut paste, to sell to her assembly line co-workers, to a tons per day peanut processor marketing her products to superrmarket and bakery chains nationwide, in the Philippines.
Ehje's peanut butter is one of the highest quality peanut butters being marketed in Manila. She has expanded her operations several times but growth has necessitated a move to a brand new processing plant.
It is the success stories of people like Ehje that make my hard work, the tremendous amount of time and effort worthwhile. I felt a sense of of pride when Ehje and her husband and business partner Boyong came to see me in Makati, to relate the tremendous transformation in their lives. She sends me videoclips, news stories as you read above, eternally grateful for the knowledge and advice she has obtained. I cannot help but smile when out of the blue, Ehje is there chatting with me on Facebook, always with a technical question on peanut processing. Ehje will forever be my student, as I am forever her teacher.
Anna Resurrecccion, Ph.D.
Distinguished Research Professor
The University of Georgia