Senator Cynthia Villar stressed how the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016 or Republic Act 10816 helps better the lives of farmers by providing alternative income sources.

Speaking during the Department of Tourism’s Farm Tourism Summit, Villar, chairperson of the Senate Agriculture and Food committee, related that farmers earn additional income from their produce; their farm when they convert it into a farm tourism site; and from their trainees when they put up a learning site or farm school.

“All of these three are encouraged under the law,” said the veteran legislator, principal author of the law.

The seasoned lawmaker noted that the key essence of the Farm Tourism Development Law is for government to “recognize that tourism, coupled with agriculture extension services, can disseminate the value of agriculture in the economic and cultural development of the country; serve as a catalyst for the development of agriculture and fishery communities; and provide additional income for farmers, farm workers, and fisherfolks”.

The lady senator also cited the increasing number of Filipinos buying plots of land or farms as a form of investment or retirement place, particularly in their hometowns.

“For those who really want to run their farm as a business, they will be supported.”

“For those who really want to run their farm as a business, they will be supported because under the new law, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development and the Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion and the DA’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service shall assist farm tourism operators and practitioners in the marketing and distribution of their products, and link them with consumers’ cooperatives and organizations, and retailers. That is very important, especially to new farm tourism sites,” she said.

Under RA 10816, there is a farm tourism strategic plan on comprehensive program, projects and activities to develop the country’s farm tourism sector.

“The plan covers investment promotion and financing; market research, promotion and development; accreditation of farm tourism camps; agriculture and fishery R&D and extension; institutional and human resource development; and infrastructure support,” said Villar.

“I encourage farm owners to turn their farms into farm schools.”

She also encouraged farm owners to turn their farms into farm schools or learning sites or training centers.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has been supporting the establishment of farm schools in different parts of the country.

Villar also mentioned that the Villar SIPAG farm schools in Cavite and Bulacan were built to entice Filipinos to avail of free agriculture-related cases.

“The Philippines–blessed with abundant natural resources, biological diversity and cultural heritage–has what it takes to take a strong lead in farm tourism,” she stressed. “So now is really the perfect time to look into and seize the numerous opportunities in farm tourism in the Philippines. So spread the word to the world, farm tourism is more fun in the Philippines!”

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