Villar cites strong Philippines lead in agriculture tourism

The Philippines has what it takes to take a strong lead in farm tourism in Asia, as it is blessed with abundant natural resources, biological diversity and cultural heritage, according to Sen. Cynthia A. Villar.

Villar authored and sponsored Senate Bill (SB) 3002, which promotes farm tourism in the Philippines. It was passed in the Senate before Congress went on an election break.

The measure is now awaiting the signature of President Aquino.

In a speech delivered during the Fourth Organic Harvest Festival held in Majayjay, Laguna, she commended the Costales Nature Farms in Laguna for promoting farm tourism and organic agriculture.

“Our people no longer need to go to Metro Manila to look for jobs, because they can stay in their provinces and grow their farms and convert them into a farm-tourism site if they want to,” Villar said.

The Department of Tourism accredited and awarded the Costales Nature Farms as the first agri-tourism destination in the Philippines.

Farm tourism, Villar said, will be a major contributor in bringing back the glory days of agriculture in the Philippines, due to its potential to increase the income of people involved in the farm sector.

To entice the youth into agriculture, Villar recommended that school field trips should include farm-tourism destinations.

Instead of taking Filipino schoolchildren to accident-prone areas, she said, school authorities should consider an itinerary composed of visiting farm-tourism spots and those promoting and highlighting agriculture.

“Hopefully, their  exposure to farm life—such as fruits and vegetable picking and planting, caring of farm  animals and orientation on healthy eating habits—will not only guide them in leading a healthy lifestyle, but also appreciate farming enough that they will consider a career in agriculture,” Villar said.

The chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Food Committee also cited the concern of various sectors about our aging farmers.

“We need to get the youth excited and interested on agriculture. Let us not scare them that agriculture is only about tilling the soil. Let us change the concept of agriculture,” she said.


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