Farm tourism seen as viable strategy

  • 15 December 2017

Sources: The Manila Times; Enjoy Travelling
15 Dec 2017

Farm tourism will open up new perspectives for inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development (ISARD) and will revitalize the farm tourism sector as a sunrise industry in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Gil Saguiguit, Jr., director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), said farm or agriculture tourism diversifies income for small farmers while promoting sustainable agricultural systems and community involvement.

He also disclosed Senator Cynthia Villar is pushing for signing into law of the Farm Tourism Development Act. It effectively institutionalizes the Philippine government's farm tourism programs in helping raise farmers' incomes and increase players in the rural tourism industry.

SEARCA held last week a five-day exposure workshop on farm tourism practices designed for different stakeholders to learn and adopt trends in farm tourism across Southeast Asia.

It received participants from Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam—plus Taiwan represented by a resource person.

The workshop also showcases agriculture as a productive business endeavor and an exciting field of study among young people.

In a similar effort to boost agritourism, the Southeast Asian AgriMuseum and Learning Center in Agricultural and Rural Development will in the future offer this farm tourism workshop, according to Saguiguit.

"These initiatives will place agriculture and the exciting prospects it has to offer centerstage. This is towards greater appreciation of agriculture not just for the youth in their career choices, but also for other important sectors and the general public," he said.

The workshop was held in partnership with the Department of Tourism and International School of Sustainable Tourism, which SEARCA has tapped as knowledge partners.

"These two institutions have been very busy making great progress in advancing farm tourism in the Philippines, along with partner agencies like the Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and Department of Trade and Industry, with the active engagement of farm tourism operators," said Saguiguit.

In 2012, SEARCA spearheaded the First Philippine National Agritourism Research Conference that aimed to identify research gaps and policies that can help develop agritourism in the country.