Tagged as the new economic game-changer, agritourism is one of the drivers for economic development, especially in rural areas. While it has been a development in the agriculture sector since 1990, it was only in 2002 that it was recognized and institutionalized through the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Tourism (DOT) issuance of a joint circular that identified 10 agri-tourism sites in the country.
As DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said, “It’s more fun and profitable with farm tourism.” They have shifted direction to a more comprehensive plan in prioritizing farm tourism. According to DOT, “Farm tourism or agritourism is the business of attracting more local and foreign tourist to farms and rural areas generally for educational and recreational purposes while creating an environment-friendly image and encouraging economic activities that can give farms and communities additional income.”
The rise of innovative agriculture leads to a wider range of tourism. Farms have developed their sites to cater more visitors and created various activities to offer. Here are some the leading agritourism destinations in the Philippines:
COSTALES NATURE FARM. Tapped as one of the major single producers of organic high-value vegetables and herbs for the Bistro Group, Moment Group, Solaire Resort & Casino, Cibo, Dizon Organics, Dalcielo, Shangri-La Hotel, among others, Costales Nature Farms, is identified as one of the premier agri-tourism destinations in the Philippines. Their farm tour packages cater to visitors who opt to relax and experience farm life for a day or two.
Established in 2005 and nestled at the foothills of Mt. Banahaw in Majayjay, Laguna. Costales Nature Farms provides workshops for those who wish to learn about sustainable organic farming and farm tourism. They are also accredited as a private extension service provider for the Agriculture Training Institute (ATI) of the DA, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and DOT.
EPHRATHAH FARMS. Located at Brgy. Sariri, Badiangan Iloilo, Ephrathah Farms practices organic farming and they are committed to natural food production. To ensure that they are in line with their farms’ promotion, their enterprising activities utilizes vermicomposting, a process where food and animal wastes are fed to worms which generate fertilizers. They assure that the harvest served at Ephrathah Farms Restaurant and produce sold at the supermarket are grown by nature’s way.
TERRA VERDE ECO FARM. Terra Verde Eco-farm is an Extension Service Provider (ESP) of Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) which practices integrated diversified farming system. It aims to entertain, educate, and develop enterprise through agri-tourism and offer accommodations and other farm activities like vegetable picking, and feeding and personal encounter with animals on the farm. The Atanacio family who owns the farm, offers training to farmers on organic farming practices and help raise awareness for consumers on the do’s and dont’s in farming while also educating consumers about food safety.
AGREA. The core objective of their group is to help eradicate poverty for farming and fishing families and to alleviate the effects of climate change and establish food security in the Philippines. To date, AGREA brings ‘Ecology of Dignity’ to farming and fishing communities in the island of Marinduque and has been continuously mobilizing areas to promote sustainable and eco-friendly enterprise such as communities, businesses, academia, local and national government, international partners, and keen individuals.
They also promote programs that nurture both nature and people through AGREA 1000 Strong, AGREA Farm Estate, Self-Palayance and The Garden Classroom.
MILEA BEE FARM. Milea Bee Farm, accredited by the Department of Tourism, offers a “Pick-and-Pay” activity where one can harvest organically-grown vegetables right from its vegetable patches.
Offering more unique experiences to visitors, Milea Bee Farm brings bees closer to people – a learning experience not only for the visitors but also to farmers who want to learn more about the culture of beekeeping and growing different crops organically.
Milea Bee Farm transformed their bee farm into a tourism spot which embodies the importance of agriculture in making food and other products available to sustain and enhance human life, and provide livelihood to a major portion of the population. Apart from their advocacy to promote environment-friendly, and efficient and sustainable farm practices, they also provide agricultural services such as colony relocation, and propagation and care of various species of honey producing bees.
These farms are great examples of how agri-tourism offers a path to improving a strong and competitive agricultural sector while contributing to the booming tourism sector.
As ASEAN BAC Philippines Chair Joey Concepcion advocates, “If we really want to change the landscape of prosperity for all in this country, we must pay attention and give importance to our farmers and other players in agriculture. The Philippines, as an agricultural country, can become an even stronger player in the ASEAN, if we align our efforts to ensure that innovation in the field is supported and that the programs we develop can sustain growth.”
This is just one trend in the tourism industry. This May 2, 2019, learn and explore business ideas from the experts in the tourism sector in one of the biggest summits on tourism and entrepreneurship, the TOURISM SUMMIT 2019. The summit will address the importance of the tourism industry in empowering Filipino MSMEs as well as narrowing the gap among ASEAN countries in achieving sustainable socio-economic growth in the ASEAN region through tourism and entrepreneurship.
Explore many opportunities! Registration is still ongoing.