The Farm Tourism Development Board chaired by the Department of Tourism (DOT) is currently crafting the Farm Tourism Strategic Action Plan, with the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), serving as one of the key agencies involved in the technical working group (TWG) for marketing, financing, and infrastructure, and human resource support.
BAR on Tuesday convened a meeting to identify and discuss possible programs, projects, and activities that will serve as the bureau's interventions for the Farm Tourism Strategic Action Plan, with the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) also tapped to provide complimentary activities. BAR and ATI are agencies under the Department of Agriculture (DA).
"BAR and ATI representatives gave recommendations as to interventions that the two agencies could provide with respect to the full implementation of the government's Farm Tourism Act. Furthermore, the two agencies will review the support services they can offer to the DA's stakeholders to further promote investments in farm tourism and look into the establishment of more learning sites for farm tourism accreditation," the BAR said in a statement.
According to Cheryl Marie Natividad-Caballero, the DOT consultant on farm tourism, BAR and ATI will play important roles in ensuring that farm tourism accreditation is facilitated and be seen as a viable source of livelihood among smallholder farmers. This can be accomplished by developing and enhancing farm tourism clusters and tourism circuits across the country.
The DOT is at the forefront of putting into effect the Farm Tourism Development Act (Republic Act 10816) and has initially identified 12 agri-tourism sites in the Calabarzon (Region 4A) for integration into traditional eco-tourism sites as part of boosting farmers' income and stirring up rural economic activity.
The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) has also pushed for the development of the farm tourism sector, recognizing it is a way to integrate smallholder farmers into the bigger supply chain. Also, it promotes practice of environment-friendly agriculture.