TANAUAN CITY, Batangas: Thousands of fisherfolk and farmers have benefited from the local government’s farm tourism campaign initiated by the Department of Tourism (DOT), helping to attract foreign investors and add livelihood to these two sectors of marginal workers, Mayor Jhoanna Corona said.
A year after “Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016” was signed into law, the DOT has pursued efforts with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Agrarian Reform and local government units to establish at least one tourism farm in each of the 81 provinces in the country.
Mayor Corona said the local government targeted a cluster of the six lakeshore barangays considered the tourism district of the city. These consist of Barangays Maria Paz, Wawa, Boot, Gonzales, Banadero, and Ambulong.
Small and medium farm owners and fish cage operators in the district have been trained to improve the standards of farming and fishing, as well as market and promote their products to a larger market, Corona said.
Aside from planting agricultural products such as sugar cane, pineapple, eggplant, calamansi, tomato, peanut, mongo and abaca, other recreational activities for visitors include horseback riding, carabao riding and water activities such as dragon boating and kayaking.
There is also “Pick and Pay,” in which foreign and local visitors can harvest their own agricultural products and pay the local farmers.
Corona said aside from Tanauan City, fishermen and farmers from other Batangas lakeshore areas such as the towns of Talisay, Cuenca, Alitagtag, Mataas na kahoy, Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Laurel, Santa Teresita, Balete and the nearby Tagaytay City in Cavite province could benefit from this project.
Other than Batangas Province, the DOT also considers the mango farms in Guimaras, the rice farms in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental, the strawberry and organic vegetable farms in Benguet as well as the pineapple and coffee plantations of Bukidnon as viable places for farm tourism.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd signed into law RA 10816, also known as the “Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016” on May 23, 2016.
The law states, “Farm tourism is the practice of attracting visitors and tourists to farm areas for production, educational and recreational purposes. It involves any agricultural—or fishery—based operation or activity that brings to a farm visitors, tourists, farmers and fisherfolk who want to be educated and trained on farming and its related activities, and provides a venue for outdoor recreation and accessible family outings.”
Other Asian countries such as Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan and Indonesia also engage in the farm tourism industry.