SEARCA optimistic on farm tourism

  • 20 July 2018

Source: The Manila Times
20 Jul 2018

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) is optimistic on the potential of farm tourism to improve the income of smallholder farmers and conserve the environment, which are good reasons for the agency to support various initiatives to also make farms tourist attractions.

SEARCA supported the staging of the first-ever Global Farm Tourism Summit in Tagaytay City last July 17-19 that was spearheaded by the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST), headed by Mina Gabor, and the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The summit was also supported by the Tourism Promotions Board, Provincial Government of Cavite, International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), Automobile Association of the Philippines, and the departments of Department of Interior and Local Government, Agriculture, and Trade and Industry.

"Farm tourism opens up possibilities for diversification of income for small-scale farmers while promoting good farming practices, sustainable agriculture systems, and community involvement," SEARCA Director Gil Saguiguit Jr. said.

Now a worldwide trend, farm tourism creates new livelihoods for farm families and contributes to the rural economy.

The summit shared best practices and success stories from local and international experts and increase awareness on the benefits of adding a tourism component to farms.

As in any enterprise, SEARCA said sustainability is key as the summit also highlighted the role of farm tourism in attaining the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat shared the DOT's directions along the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016 authored by Sen. Cynthia Villar.

With the conference theme "Managing Climate Risks through Sustainable Farm Tourism," session topics include farming is sexy: millennial farmers, women empowerment in farm tourism, new sustainable practices, climate resilient crops, climate-smart farming, do-it-yourself promotion of farm tourism, local organic standards and accreditation and, internationally accepted processes, and various country experiences.

Also held was an exhibit of farm produce packaged in various forms and other innovative retail items showcasing farm products and services from partners and participating farms. Participants also visited the Cavite-based IIRR so they could see first-hand successful farm tourism projects.