Farm tourism: the fu­ture?

Agriculture - - Contents -

NEWLY AP­POINTED Tourism Sec­re­tary Berna Ro­mu­loPuyat has ad­vo­cated farm tourism as a flag­ship strat­egy. It is a sound di­rec­tion.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, Sen­a­tor Cyn­thia A. Vil­lar, chair of the Se­nate Agri­cul­ture and Food Com­mit­tee, led the launch­ing of a farm tourism ini­tia­tive in Oc­to­ber 2017. Her coun­ter­part in the House is Con­gress­woman Sharon Garin. Both strongly sup­port farm tourism as a prof­itable busi­ness propo­si­tion to farm­ers and farm own­ers.

Vil­lar claims that the Tourism Law seeks to pro­mote en­vi­ron­ment­friendly, ef­fi­cient and sus­tain­able farm prac­tices. She ac­knowl­edged that in­creas­ing food pro­duc­tion and farm pro­duc­tiv­ity alone can­not move farm­ers out of poverty. She wants ca­pac­ity-build­ing to turn small farm­ers into agri-busi­ness en­trepreneurs.

What are the typ­i­cal farm tourism des­ti­na­tions in the ASEAN neigh­bor­hood? This ar­ti­cle will dis­cuss ex­am­ples from Malaysia and the Philip­pines.

1. Dairy farm. A pop­u­lar farm tourism des­ti­na­tion in Malaysia is Desa Dairy Farm, which is lo­cated at the foot of Mount Kinabalu in Kun­dasang, Sabah. It is dubbed as “Lit­tle New Zealand” for its green land­scape and cool breeze. The cat­tle breed of Hol­stein Friesian is im­ported from New Zealand. Yoghurts, milk, cows, sheep, and mag­nif­i­cent farm­land are among the at­trac­tion. See more on Malaysia farm tourism at farms-to-visit-malaysia/72175 (Chew 2017).

La­guna and Batan­gas. There are dairy farms in La­guna and Batan­gas that can be con­verted into farm tourism des­ti­na­tions. One ex­am­ple is King Ranch Dairy Farm in Rosario town man­aged by King Car­los.

2. Trop­i­cal fruit farms. Pe­nang Is­land hosts a Trop­i­cal Fruit Farm, which is a pop­u­lar tourist site with a wide range of ex­otic and rare fruits. The farm or­chard, de­vel­oped in 1993, boasts of around 250 dif­fer­ent species of fruits from dif­fer­ent parts of the world.

Sarian Ex­otic Fruit Trees farm is in Teresa, Rizal, the next town to An­tipolo City and 25-km from Or­ti­gas Cen­ter. Di­verse ex­otic va­ri­eties can be seen: ma­copa, la­tex­less jack­fruit, longkong, Malaysian hy­brid durian, marang, seed­less atis, pome­gran­ate, su­per av­o­cado, guava, peach mango, cala­mansi, lemon, pomelo, Barbados cherry, and more; even black pep­per from In­dia and BR 25 ca­cao.

3. Buf­falo/Carabao Farms. In the Buf­falo Park in Langkawi Is­land, north of Pe­nang, one can be­come a farmer for a day and get to en­joy ten­der and juicy buf­falo meat. This is also an ideal place to buy yo­ghurt ice cream, cheese, and sou­venirs.

The Philip­pine Carabao Cen­ter in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija is a show­case of farm tourism in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to Sen­a­tor Vil­lar. It has its own pro­cess­ing plant for carabao milk and an out­let where pro­cessed prod­ucts from farm co­op­er­a­tives can be bought.

4. Farm re­sorts. In Davao City, the Mala­gos Farm Re­sort pro­vides a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence from ca­cao farm to choco­late mak­ing. It is a one-hour drive from the city cen­ter.

Nearby is the Philip­pine Ea­gle Cen­ter (PEC), an 8.4hectare area lo­cated at the foothills of Mt. Apo. PEC op­er­ates as a con­ser­va­tion breed­ing fa­cil­ity for the crit­i­cally en­dan­gered Philip­pine Ea­gle and other birds of prey. There are cur­rently 7 Philip­pine Ea­gles in exhibit

Dairy buf­faloes at the Philip­pine Carabao Cen­ter.

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