Agsam, also known as nito, is an indigenous fern that grows abundantly in Barangay San Pablo, Taft, Eastern Samar. This fern makes the livelihood of a number of men in San Pablo where their creativity is also developed by producing functional hats, trays and baskets.

Hand-crafted nito baskets with different designs

A group of men were organized in the barangay and formed the San Pablo Agsam Handicrafts Farmers Multipurpose Association (SPAHFMA) since they have identified handicraft making as a profitable business to address the socio-economic issues of the community.

Through the Negosyo Center, DTI assisted them by providing entrepreneurial seminars and marketing assistance in the form of one-on-one product development workshops, participation to local and national trade fairs, and promotions.

A member of SPAHFMA working on a new nito handicraft

They were also financially assisted by the Center for International and Cooperation (CECI) and Center for Emergency Aid and Rehabilitation Concern (CONCERN) aside from the trainings.

The producers also had the opportunity to undergo a workshop on product development, which made improvements of their product quality and proposed new designs that are functional and trendy. This was immediately applied by the association and created prototypes that were eventually launched in the trade fairs they participated in.

Their products, branded as the San Pablo Agsam Handicrafts, now sell in local trade fairs during founding anniversaries of municipalities in Eastern Samar, BAHANDI Freedom and Festivals Trade Fair and Pre-Christmas Trade Fair in Tacloban, and the BAHANDI Eastern Visayas Trade Fair held in Metro Manila.

As a result of marketing assistance provided by DTI and the Taft Negosyo Center, San Pablo Agsam Handicrafts were able to link with institutional buyers and received bulk orders from business entities who have met them and were satisfied with the quality, affordability and design of their products.

At this time of pandemic, DTI has taken the opportunity to assist the association in online marketing and promotion to economically help the farmers who have never stopped their production to cope with the challenges caused by health restrictions and lockdowns.

San Pablo Agsam is open for orders and delivery and can be reached through mobile numbers, 09265052980 / 09973625677♦

Date of Release: 3 July 2020