Tourism Potentials of Organic Farms
Philippine is now among the world’s top agri-tourism destinations due to its natural resources and biodiversity, rich farming heritages and the Filipinos that are hospitable and very open to tourists. Agri-tourism is a combination of Agriculture and Tourism that involves agriculturally based activities and operations that draw visitors and tourists to stop by. Nature-friendly Farms, Health and Wellness Farms and Organic Farms are among the top farm tourism destinations in the country. This has helped the Philippines’ tourism potential to upheave. During the Global Farm Tourism Summit hosted by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for graduate study & Research in Agriculture (Searca), Rose H. Libongco of the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association, mentioned La Union, Laguna and Davao as one of the most visited farm tourism sites. Searca is a Laguna-based institution operating and working with the inclusivity and sustainability of agricultural and rural development of Southeast Asia. Today, Taiwan, Hawaii, Mallorca, California, Tuscany and Brazil are considered to be the top leading agri-tourism countries.
However, Philippines is also taking its turn to showcase the Filipino-designed farms. One representation would be in La Union, which has 23 farm tourism sites. Last 2018, La Union had a fair showcased of One-Town-One-Product (OTOP) featuring the vegetables found in the famous dish of Ilocanos’ dinengdeng – vegetables mixed with fermented fish sauce. One Town, One Product Philippines is a priority stimulus program for Micro, Small and Medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) as government’s customized intervention to drive inclusive local economic growth. The program enables localities and communities to determine, develop, support, and promote products or services that are rooted in its local culture, community resource, creativity, connection, and competitive advantage. (pia.gov.ph)
Agri-tourism development programs are expected to propel La Union and improve the quality of life of the people in this province. To enhance food security, the province continues to implement programs and supports rural livelihood through the distribution of hybrid seeds, farm machineries, fishing equipment and post-harvest facilities benefiting over 10,000 farmers and more than 80 farmers’ and fisherfolks’ association. At present, comprehensive land use plans are being reviewed and aligned to the development plans and strategy of the province. Agri-tourism Fair in La Union highlights every local farmer’s produce and it is held every year.
Recently, DOT has included agri-tourism or farm tourism as a priority tourism product in the Philippines. With this, the promotion of climate-smart agriculture was entailed along with tourism. Climate-smart farming is an integration of agriculture and climate responsiveness. An included integral part of this component is to present ideal opportunities for farmers and potential farm tourism owners to aid in the country’s climate change adaptation.
At present, the Philippines has a total of 32 agri-tourism sites, including 27 protected areas consisting of strawberry plantations and organic farm production in Benguet as well as pineapple and coffee plantations in Bukidnon. This tourism can be easily cultivated into increasing the popularity of Philippine agriculture and tourism industry as well as making it a more decent job with a satisfying income for every Filipino farmer. Through agri-tourism, farmers will have a more reasonable idea to turn their farm into tourist destination when they are not getting enough income in their produce. Developing farm tourism is bringing your market closer to their producers.