Brighter Future Awaits Region 2’s Farm Tourism
Quite a number of farm owners are now drawn into upgrading their agricultural farms into farm tourism as a farm diversification strategy to supplement their income.
Being an archipelagic country, the Philippines not only has diverse natural resources but also has abundant agricultural produce, and rich cultural heritage and beautiful sceneries to boot. All of which are perfect combination to make the emerging farm tourism grow and prosper.
Thanks to the regional offices of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the initial task of gathering the region’s farm owners and managers together in a seminar where discussions on the state of agricultural resources were stirred. Relevant issues on the agriculture and tourism sectors were likewise discussed leading to the birth of farm tourism in Cagayan Valley in the early part of 2018.
The DOT went on to conduct workshops to promote farm tourism to serve as catalyst towards the development of agricultural and fishing communities, thus, augmenting the meager income of farmers through tourism.
Corrine P. Mamba, president of the four-year old Cagayan Valley Farm Tourism Association, said farm tourism is not merely a business enterprise but rural tourism that focuses on providing unique experience in actual farming and farm living.
Today, the region has 28 DOT-accredited farm tourism sites: one in Batanes, eight in Cagayan, 13 in Isabela, three in Nueva Vizcaya and three in Quirino. A number of these farm tourism sites feature either orchard gardens, fish-farms, integrated farms of rice and high value crops, poultry farms with fishponds and others.
The association president noted, however, that quite a number of farm tourism sites not only in Region 2 but throughout the country are managed by complex elite network of state and private entities favoring old and new landed elites.
“We are now encouraging marginalized farmers and farm owners aspiring to become farm tour site operators to join the association. We will collaborate with small but complementary farms to help address the imbalance,” she said.
As soon as conditions become better, the association members will go around the region to drum up recruitment of potential members, Mamba said even as she added that such will provide the opportunity for us to visit more farms to be developed as farm tourism sites.
The Association is lucky enough to have crafted its Farm Tourism Strategic Plan for 2020-2022 and which was reported during the DOT Region 2 Stakeholders’ Forum held in Tuguegarao City On December 17, 2019, just before the onset of the health pandemic. Region 2 is one of the regions of the country that came up with their farm tourism plans, she said.
“We are hopeful that the proposed National Farm Tourism Summit will be conducted soon by the Samahan ng Sakahang Panturismo ng Pilipinas (SSPP) which was organized by DOT Central Office only on February 6, 2020,” she said.
The SSPP is the umbrella organization of all the 15 Farm Tourism Associations in the country that will help the Philippine Farm Tourism Development Board in the formulation of policies, programs and projects for the development of the country’s farm tourism.
Mamba said the association looks forward to working with the Region 2 Travel Agencies and Tour Operators Association (R2TATOA), the Cagayan Valley Regional Tourism Council and all the tourism officers of the region and the local government units for the farm tourism sites to prosper. #PR/RTFAN/#7