Agriculture and tourism play a big role for our country, which is why farm tourism in the Philippines is starting to flourish. Dubbed as the sunrise industry of the country, farm tourism is a logical and refreshing new addition to the list of projects that generate additional income for Filipino farmers. It has also perfectly catered to the growing interest of many people to participate in healthy food production with their families.
By combining agriculture and tourism, the agri-food industry has slowly opened up more comprehensive and sustainable opportunities not only for farmers but also for institutions across the country. Today, as food farm tourism continues to become a growing sub-sector of tourism, lawmakers and experts have turned their heads to develop the industry. However, not everyone is familiar with farm tourism and its benefits.
In this article, we talk about farm tourism in the Philippines – from its importance to the many activities you can try when you visit these farm tours.
What is Farm Tourism?
Farm tourism is the business of attracting visitors to farm areas generally for educational and recreational purposes, while encouraging economic activities that can provide the farm and community with additional income. The most famous example of farm tourism in the Philippines is probably the La Trinidad strawberry farm in Benguet. However, as a growing industry, more and more farms are beginning to open their gates to tourists.
There are many farm tourism activities that can be experienced when visiting rural farms. Children and adults alike can feed animals, collect eggs, make nature-based arts and crafts, try horseback riding, hike, eat fresh vegetables, pick fruits and vegetables, try new varieties of fruit juice or wine, create community-based products, or even stay overnight in the area. Activities vary, depending on the farm being visited.
These quaint farms offer a charming change of pace from the hustle and bustle of urban living. Make no mistake – these farms are still absolutely gorgeous! Some can even be used as an intimate wedding venue for the introverted couple.
Benefits of Farm Tourism
Sen. Cynthia A. Villar, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, sees farm tourism as one of the Philippines’ sunshine industries to pursue because of the agricultural nature of our economy.
She noted that farmers and fishermen need to diversify and supplement their agricultural income and farm tourism is a creative way to achieve this goal. As a show of her support and enthusiasm for such projects, Villar continues to work on vital legislation and changes to existing laws to complement this growing subsector of the tourism industry. It has even launched a farm tourism book to provide more information about the industry. It seems that farmers somewhat share this view as many farmers turned farm tourism operators reported that they were earning more from this newfound activity than from their usual crops during a Senate hearing.
The President of the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) and Project Director Dr. Mina Gabor also supports the industry, stating that farm tourism camps focus on low-impact travel and empower local communities socially and economically.
“Farm tourism attracts visitors and travelers to farm areas, generally for educational and recreational purposes that encourage economic activity to provide farm and community income,” she said of the benefits of farm tourism.
In addition to the economic impact of farm areas, farm tourism sites also help promote tourism and the products of the area, especially those produced and produced by rural industries. This is a common practice around the world. In fact, some of the famous tourist spots in Europe and the US are farms.
In Costa Rica, a famous coffee plantation has finally set up one of the best ecologies in the world where you can stay and wake up the next morning to visit the plantation and try your hand at picking coffee fruits. It also has a wonderful restaurant that serves its famous varieties of coffee, sells soaps made from coffee and other agricultural products.
In Italy you can rent a villa located in the middle of the farm. If you want to cook your own meal, he can provide ingredients, such as fruit and vegetables, that you can pick right outside your doorstep.
A common factor among these farms, regardless of where they are located, is that many jobs and income generated for the community stem from this activity.
Farm tourism in the Philippines
Farm tourism has spread across the country and is slowly becoming a sustainable source of income and development. It is no longer limited to the usual tourist spots, but also to rural areas. Certainly, farm tourism in Nueva Ecija and other agricultural regions is booming.
There are about 100 or more accredited and non-accredited farm tourism sites in the country, ranging from micro, small, medium and large in size. Some of the most successful tourist farms, also called farm camps, in the country include: Sunflower Farms in Ligao City, Albay Province; Rapha Valley in Don Salvador Benedicto City, Negros Occidental Province; Dragon Fruit Farm in the Municipality of Burgos, Ilocos Norte Province; Dasoland in Dasol City, Pangasinan Province; and Disneyworld of Farming Systems of the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center Inc. Foundation. in the municipality of Bansalan, province of Davao del Sur. To this day, there are still some developers and small business owners who are converting their old farms into farm camps as well.
Aside from Senator Villar’s initiatives, President Aquino also signed into law Republic Act 10816, or the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016. Under the new law, a Farm Tourism Development Board will be created to formulate plans and programs for the development and promotion of farm tourism in the country and will determine the general direction for the implementation of the Strategic Plan of Action for Farm Tourism. Currently, the current administration has expressed a desire to focus on both agriculture and tourism.
The answer to why farm tourism is important: Agriculture and Tourism
It is no secret that rural economic conditions are not the best. Farmers and fishermen, most importantly, have very small profits. Farm tours and farm camps offer a creative way for Filipino farmers, fishermen and agricultural workers to earn more without changing their daily routine and jobs.
The growing industry is still just that – growing. However, with a little push and more education, farm tourism can be the answer to economic and cultural development in rural sectors. Time and effort will only show the final results.