THE recently passed Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016 (Republic Act or RA 10816) is seen as a way to value-add farmers’ income and contribute to local tourism sector.
Cynthia Villar, Committee on Agriculture and Food senate chairperson, underscored the importance of productivity among farmers in order to strengthen the country’s agricultural sector.
Villar said during the 1st Manufacturers’ Forum by the Mindanao Agricultural Machinery Industry Association that the passage of the tourism development act will encourage farmers to become innovative in having potential tourists visit their respective farms, and provide them with agricultural products farmers yield.
The law aims “to maximize the benefits that can be derived from agriculture and tourism combined” and “for the encouragement, development and promotion of farm tourism in the country.”
The senator said the law encourages farmers to use at least a hectare of their farmlands to be converted into a tourism site.
“May restaurant yun, may pasalubong center, at pwede ring magkaroon ng homestay (There’s are restaurant, a paslubong center, and even a homestay accommodation place in the farm tourism site),” Villar said, adding this can help farmers also contribute in securing an ecologically sound environment by making sure agricultural lands are not converted into infrastructural sites.
She added farm tourist sites can also be turned into farm schools in order to offer agricultural technical assistance to the community
“And if you turn it into a farm school with Tesda’s (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) accreditation, Tesda will pay for the tuition of all the students studying in the farm school,” Villar said.
Villar added the farm school is a good place to also promote mechanization among farmers in order to increase productivity.