THE MOUNTAIN city can now boast to produce sweet strawberries.
The Sto. Tomas Bilis Farmers Association headed by Solomon Lang -ay are preparing to open an almost three hectare farmland for tourists to enjoy in the outskirts of the Pine City.
The group of farmers from Sito Bilis in Sto. Tomas central have started to propagate cutflowers, strawberries, cabbage, lettuce, pechay and carrots enough for their families and to sell to the open market.
Lang - ay said farming started in his property in 2009 in a confined 1000 square meter plot where he tinkered to produce strawberries.
Today, the association boasts to grow the san andres variety of strawberries which can be grown all year round coupled with pesticide free technology and fresh water from local springs to irrigate the farms, giving consumers Baguio quality produce.
Councilor Leandro Yangot, chair for the committee on market trade, commerce and agriculture said city urban gardening has started to flourish.
“In 2016, we had the urban farmers month and the farmers suggested that we should have our own tourist spot featuring urban gardening," added Yangot.
The association has over 80 farmers who sell vegetables and strawberries joining the community of producers in the Sto. Tomas area where farming thrives.
"The community is a place with a future," Yangot said adding there is a lot of work to be done to make the place tourism ready but is a good way to start a long term plan.
A P2.5M funding from the Department of Agriculture for farming barangays in the city has been downloaded to boost the emerging industry.
The community is working to make the new agri-tourism destination sustainable and is careful not to turn it into another "La Presa," noting there are no public restrooms, parking spaces, widened roads, restaurants and stores in the area which can cater to tourists.
Councilor Elmer Datuin, chairperson of the committee on tourism, special events, parks and playgrounds said ways on how to manage garbage, imposition of environmental fees and public restrooms will have to be implemented if the area plans to open for tourism in the future.
Datuin said scheduled small tours in the meantime can be accommodated.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on February 14, 2018.
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