Promoting family farm tourism

  • 23 April 2018

Source: SunStar
23 Apr 2018

FAMILY Farm tourism is one component of agriculture that is seen to create a good relationship between the farmers and the consumers while educating the younger members of the family managing the farm.

Agri-tourism is one of the components of agriculture that is being pushed and promoted by different agriculture organizations and government agencies in the country.

Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) Knowledge Management Department Program Head Dr. Maria Celeste H. Cadiz, in a presentation in Los Baños, Laguna defined farm tourism as the "business of attracting visitors and travelers to farm areas for educational and recreational purposes." She further stated that this form of tourism will encourage more economic activity while providing both farm and community income.

As one of agri-tourism's main objectives is to make the younger generation be more interested in agriculture, one of the thriving components is the family farm tourism wherein a farm will be managed by the entire family.

In Maragondon, Cavite, the Terra Verde Ecofarm is a 15-hectare property managed by the Atanacio family. The farm had been a private property of the family for more than a decade but had only recently opened it to the public as an agri-tourism destination.

"There is more learning in the farm setting than in school. It had been our family advocacy to bring people back to agriculture. Agri-tourism brings the consumer closer to the farmers so it builds the relationship of the farmers with the consumer resulting to a safer food," said Terra Verde President Ericson B. Atanacio.

In their farm, Atanacio said they have mastered crop rotation and other means to adjust and adapt with the change of the weather all throughout the year. He said they have specific measures that they observe during summer seasons and wet seasons. He added farmers shouldn't be worried of the effects of droughts and other similar natural problems, instead solutions should be made in order to still garner good farming.

In Terra Verde Ecofarm, they have different farm animals including turkeys, geese, black hogs, sheep, and cows. They also have deer and ostriches. This summer, as their farm is a little drier than other days of the year, they have improvised an irrigation system for their crops. Atanacio said they are very much willing to impart knowledge of these technologies to other farmers just so their crops on summer would still be productive. Practicing crop rotation, this summer Terra Verde Ecofarm plants dragon fruits, peanuts, and guavas among others.

Farm tourism, for Atanacio, allows the people to get to know their farmers more and to have a closer relationship with them. When consumers buy agricultural products from farms directly, the farmers will automatically feel responsible for the health of the consumers buying from him. As a result, the farmer will have second thoughts on using synthetic fertilizers and sprays that may have bad effects to the consumers.

Aside from establishing a good connection between, Atanacio said his children are more exposed to agriculture and it created a learning edge as compared to their classmates in school who only knew of some agricultural things in the four corners of the classroom.

However, he said, that for families who want to venture into family farming, it should be kept in mind that the venture should not solely be profit-driven. The family should have genuine social compassion. The business should revolve around the 4Ps (Profit, people, planet, purpose). With this, Atanacio said the managing family should still not be afraid to charge their visitors as long as they get the value of what they paid for.