Agriculture - - For Students -

THERE IS A NEED to in­clude farm tourism des­ti­na­tions in school field trips and pack­aged travel itin­er­ar­ies to pro­mote ca­reers in agri­cul­ture, says Sen­a­tor Cyn­thia Vil­lar. “In­stead of tak­ing our school­child­ren to ac­ci­dent­prone ar­eas, school au­thor­i­ties should con­sider [itin­er­ar­ies com­prised] of [the] farm tourism spots and agri­cul­tural won­ders sprout­ing all over the coun­try,”she said, adding that this would make such trips more worth­while among the youth and other con­cerned sec­tors.

“The Philip­pines as an agri­cul­tural coun­try is blessed with abun­dant nat­u­ral re­sources, bi­o­log­i­cal di­ver­sity, and cul­tural her­itage,” she noted. “We have what it takes to take a strong lead in farm tourism in the re­gion, and even glob­ally.”

The sen­a­tor sug­gested the pub­li­ca­tion of a book show­cas­ing the farm tourism des­ti­na­tions by prov­ince, along with in­for­ma­tion ma­te­ri­als for farm­ers to teach them about the ben­e­fits of farm tourism.

Cit­ing the Costales Na­ture Farms in Ma­jay­jay, La­guna as an ex­am­ple, Sen­a­tor Vil­lar pointed out that it of­fers ed­u­ca­tional and fun ac­tiv­i­ties for stu­dents such as veg­etable pick­ing and plant­ing, car­ing for farm an­i­mals, and an ori­en­ta­tion on healthy eat­ing habits.

Sen. Vil­lar added that in Nueva Ecija, the Philip­pine Carabao Cen­ter or PCC, lo­cated in the Sci­ence City of Muñoz, is one of the best farm tourism des­ti­na­tions, with its train­ing cen­ter, ho­tel, shops, and mu­seum.

As the chair­per­son of the Com­mit­tee on Agri­cul­ture and Food and prin­ci­pal spon­sor of Se­nate Bill 3002 or “An Act pro­vid­ing for the de­vel­op­ment and pro­mo­tion of farm tourism in the Philip­pines,”Sen. Vil­lar also wel­comed the pas­sage of the bill on its third read­ing at the Se­nate and at the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Among the salient fea­tures of the bill is the for­mu­la­tion of a Farm Tourism Strate­gic Ac­tion Plan con­sis­tent with the Na­tional Tourism De­vel­op­ment Plan. She said this will pro­vide the spe­cific pro­grams and ac­tiv­i­ties that need to be done by govern­ment agen­cies and in­dus­try stake­hold­ers.

Sen­a­tor Cyn­thia Vil­lar poses be­side a pot­ted fruit­ing pum­melo at the Vil­lar Si­pag Ur­ban Farm School at Molino Dam in Las Piñas City, which is very ac­ces­si­ble in Metro Manila.

Costales Na­ture Farms in Ma­jay­jay, La­guna is one of the few agri­tourism des­ti­na­tions ac­cred­ited by the Depart­ment of Tourism. Of­ten vis­ited by a large group of hob­by­ists and farm en­thu­si­asts, the farm pro­motes sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture through in­te­grated or­ganic farm­ing.

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