Farmers urged: Convert farms into tourism sites
Villar, chair of the Senate agriculture and food committee, said that the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016 or Republic Act 10816 had been very helpful to the farmers.
Farmers urged: Convert farms into tourism sites
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - November 8, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Senator Cynthia Villar has urged all the farmers to convert their farms into tourism site and farm training school to augment their income.

Villar, chair of the Senate agriculture and food committee, said that the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016 or Republic Act 10816 had been very helpful to the farmers.

“Kaya patuloy kong ini-encourage ang mga farm owners na gawin na din farm schools, learning sites o training centers ang kanilang mga farms. Ang pag-establish ng mga farm schools in every town in the Philippines is also supported by TESDA. Isang paraan rin kasi iyan para mabigyan ng access sa mga tech-voc courses na agri-related ang ating mga kababayan, lalo na sa countryside,” Villar said.

She expressed gladness that since its enactment and implementation, the said law has been helping farming families and communities all over the country.

“The ultimate beneficiaries of the law are of course the Filipino farmers who are still among the poorest in our country. We wanted to give them alternative sources of income from their harvest and farm,” she said.

Villar, speaking at the 6th Philippine Farm Tourism Conference at Marco Polo in Cebu City, said that these has always been her priority which is also in synch of the goals of the agriculture department through its overall goal of “masaganang ani at mataas na kita”.

The senator added that farm tourism is now part of the development plan of the agriculture sector as well as the promotion strategy of tourism in our country.

According to her, the combination of agriculture and tourism is really a potent and effective one wherein the active involvement, continued interest and investment will also help fast-track the further growth and development of farm tourism.

She emphasized that farm tourism practitioners or stakeholders also have ample support not just from the private sector or among themselves but from the government itself.

Villar added that under the farm tourism law, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development and the Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion and the DA’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service shall assist farm tourism operators and practitioners in the marketing and distribution of their products and link them with consumers’ cooperatives and organizations, and retailers.

Villar said that this is very important, especially to new farm tourism sites. The “formulation and implementation of the Farm Tourism Strategic Action Plan” is also mandated under the law, it will put in place a “comprehensive set of programs, projects and activities for the growth of farm tourism in the country”.

The plan covers investment promotion and financing; market research, promotion and development; accreditation of farm tourism camps; agriculture and fishery R&D and extension; institutional and human resource development; and infrastructure support.

Villar said that the creation of the Farm Tourism Development Board attached to the DOT is also a crucial component of the law as it will be the one to formulate plans and programs for the development and promotion of farm tourism in the country and the implementation of the Farm Tourism Strategic Action Plan.

“We are really happy that farm tourism has really become a sunshine industry in many parts of the country. The interest has been tremendous. Farm tourism sites have been mushrooming everywhere and they are doing really well. So much so that even non-farmers such as overseas Filipino workers or OFWs are showing interest in it,” the senator said.

 At the rate farm tourism is growing, Villar said there is a need to update the Directory of Farm Schools, Tourist Farms & Learning Sites in the Philippines wherein it summarizes farm tourism destinations all over the country and serves as a reference guide for farm enthusiasts, interested trainees and tourists.  FPL (FREEMAN)

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