DA: Turn farm sites to 'instagrammable' tourist destinations

Johanna O. Bajenting

TO INSPIRE the younger generation to grow their love for agriculture, the Department of Agriculture (DA) aims to develop farm sites into “Instagram-worthy” destinations.

Speaking at the 6th Philippine Farm Tourism Conference 2019 in Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, Rosana Mula, officer-in-charge and assistant director of the Agricultural Training Institute of DA, said farm tourism is a “game-changer” that will revitalize the country’s agriculture sector.

“It is a game-changer in terms of attracting the youth, particularly the millennials to engage in agriculture by creating ‘Instagram-worthy’ sites. This industry truly brings us hope to revitalize agriculture amid the growing population and aging farmers and fishers,” Mula said, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. She represented DA Secretary William Dar.

Through farm tourism, Mula said, the desire for healthy living and alternative experiences will be achieved.

Mina Gabor, chairman and president of the International School of Sustainable Tourism, said that they have a very active community who is focused on farm tourism.

“Young adults and millennial entrepreneurs have a vital role as major players in putting farm tourism in the mainstream,” she said.

Gabor said the school serves as a learning institution to successful agri-preneurs who want to bring their farm tourism businesses closer to the market.

She said they have produced almost 700 graduates in their farm tourism courses and some 5,000 attendees during annual farm tourism conferences.

“We are proud to say that some of our protegés and graduates are now considered agri-movers, market masters, owners of farm schools and successful tourism sites,” she said.

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in her keynote address, urged Filipinos to patronize accredited farm sites.

“I urge every Filipino to visit our accredited farms and learn more ways of protecting our environment while enjoying the peace and quiet of farm life,” she said.

This year’s conference is anchored on the theme, “Farm Tourism: Building Community Relationship for Sustainable Development.”

Composed of three parts, the three-day conference will “further strengthen the stakeholders’ commitment to promote the country as a world-class farm tourism destination for both Filipinos and foreign visitors.”

It will tackle a range of topics relevant to both aspiring and operating farm tourism owners. It will also have an exhibition area, where fresh, processed and locally grown agricultural produce will be on sale. It will also feature a farm tour program where participants will see the innovative activities and products they offer.

There are currently six farm sites accredited by the Department of Tourism in Central Visayas—two in Cebu, two in Negros Oriental, one in Bohol and one in Siquijor.

These farms are Lamac Integrated Organic Farm School in Pinamungajan, Cebu, Arapal Nature Retreat in Bogo City, Cebu, Vita Isola Leisure Farm in Loon, Bohol, Ocean View Farm and Cottages in Maria, Siquijor, Mahogany Upland Resort and Baslay Coffee Farm both in Dauin, Negros Oriental.