Farm tourism orientation conducted in the province
BONTOC, Mtn. Prov.– More than sixty (60) individual farmers attended the Farm Tourism Orientation and Planning Workshop conducted by the Provincial Tourism Office in coordination with the Department of Tourism – Cordillera Administrative Region (DOT-CAR) last February 27, 2019 at the Ridge Brooke Hotel and Restaurant, Samoki, this town.
Farm tourism is touted to be the newest program being promoted by the Department of Tourism led by Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat. It is also the first time to be conducted in the province; thus, it is an orientation.
Provincial Administrator Atty. Amador Batay-an emphasized in his welcome remarks that Farm Tourism is an alternative endeavor that will help in bringing economic prosperity to farmers, the Local Government Units, and the communities.
He cited as an example his experience in Canada wherein they were brought to a farm of grapes, picked the fruits of grapes of varying colors and sizes and made to pay what they got.
Farm Tourism is the marriage between agriculture and tourism per Republic Act No. 10816 entitled “An Act Providing for the Development and Promotion of Farm Tourism in the Philippines”.
Under the law, farm tourism is equivalent to rural tourism as tourists are expected to visit farms, take and pay farm products. Tourists are also expected to pay entrance fees translating to income revenues for the farmers.
As examples, the Farm Blossoms of flowers in Atok, Benguet and the Dirige Goat Farm in Bontoc were cited. In Benguet, thousands of tourists visit the farm and bought flowers at farm gate prices tripling the income of the farmers.
Sylvia Chinayog and Angela Fagutao from the DOT-CAR were the resource persons in the one-day event.
Cristeta Gamonnac and Grael Balog-as from the Provincial Agriculturist Office (PAgO) facilitated the Good Agricultural Practices and Organic farming for the benefit of the farmers.
One objective of the law is to develop networks of agri-tourism sites in the country. Both hope that after the orientation, more farms will be accredited in Farm Tourism to cater to the new trend.
Lina Layog of the Layog Country Farm located in Kayan West, Tadian shared their experiences, as well as the challenges in being engaged in Farm Tourism.
Layog Country Farm has been accredited by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) as a Learning Site, by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as promoter of Bamboo Production, and by the Department of Tourism for Farm Tourism.
Farmers with potentials for Farm Tourism, Municipal Agriculturists, and Municipal Tourism Action Officers from the municipalities attended the one-day event.**Roger Sacyaten