Press Release
January 30, 2015

Villar: Go into farm tourism

Senator Cynthia A. Villar called on farm families to venture into farm tourism, saying it offers a lot of opportunities for families and communities all over the country.

Under the innovative concept of farm tourism, visitors and travelers are invited to farm areas for educational and recreational purposes.

"This is indeed a responsible approach in tourism and agriculture that has proven to be an effective tool to augment income of those involved in family farming," said Villar.

Farm tourism was the highlight of the recent 5th Gulay Festival celebration in San Ildefonso, Bulacan, where the senator was the guest speaker.

"The timing for concepts such as farm tourism could not have been more perfect," said Villar.

She related that the United Nations last year declared 2014 as the 'International Year of Family Farming'.

Based on official statistics, she said 1.5 billion of people globally are estimated to be involved in family farming in over 500 million small farms worldwide.

As competition intensifies, she underscored the need to be more versatile and watch out for new market opportunities.

"And the ASEAN integration under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is a perfect opportunity to tap into the regional markets. I strongly believe that Filipino businessmen can equal business people from our neighboring countries," she said.

"We should not also forget that the Philippines is an agricultural country and about two-thirds of our population is involved directly or indirectly in the agriculture sector," she added.

She said the goal of farm tourism is to help farmers diversify and supplement their agricultural incomes.

"This is also an excellent chance for our vegetable growers. There are many business opportunities in agriculture and vegetable growers are in a better position to use this opportunity to improve their standard of living and give jobs to their fellow countrymen," said Villar.

As an entrepreneur, the senator said she agrees with those who push for 'agri-entrepreneurship' and she strongly believes that farmers, farm owners and of course vegetable growers and producers can be agri-entrepreneurs.

"So, the possibilities in agriculture are really endless and exciting. Sustainable tourism such as farm tourism is a good move towards the right direction. Those will really boost the livelihood, business and income potential most especially in rural communities."

As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, Villar likewise called on vegetable growers to embark on organic farming.

In going around the country, the senator said she has been seeing that more and more people and groups are becoming more aware of the benefits of environment-friendly agricultural concepts, approaches or processes.

Actually, our country has a National Organic Agriculture Program, which envisions the organic agriculture sector contributing to the over-all agriculture growth and development of the country in terms of sustainability, competitiveness and food security.

Under the said program, at least five (5) percent of Philippine agricultural farm will be converted into organic by 2016.

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