Supplementing Farm Income through Agri-Eco Tourism

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan — With the Panagbenga and Adivay Festivals in Benguet, Timpupo Festival in Kidapawan, Manggahan Festival in Guimaras and Camuigin’s Lanzones Festival, among others, agri-eco tourism is not at all a new concept in the country.  
Such initiatives have been long used as a viable means of improving the economic state of rural areas.  Thus, agri-eco tourism concept involves bringing visitors to farms so they can learn, appreciate and experience first-hand agricultural technologies and practices of the community.  More extensive agri-eco tourism activity in the area means more tourists which then leads to higher revenues for farmers and fishers and the locale as a whole.

In this line, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) collaborated with the Local Government Units (LGUs) and private sector to foster farmers and fishers in developing their farms into an agri-eco tourism site that would become a supplementary source of income and livelihood.  Furthermore, these sites would later on serve as demonstration areas or practical agriculture sites for information-sharing and technology-transfer among and between farmers, extension workers, students – including out-of-school youth, government employees and researchers.
Initially, ATI held a training course on “Sustainable Agriculture in an Agri-Eco Tourism Farm Environment” that mainly intends to enhance the knowledge, attitude and skills of farmers and fishers as well as agricultural extension workers on various topics like Integrated Sustainable Farming Using Natural Methods; Natural Farming System for Sustainable Agriculture in the Tropics; and Sustainable Development Through Community-based Resource Management.  Aside from this, the ATI management aimed to gain ideas and techniques from the training to further help its stakeholders develop and manage their respective agri-eco tourism projects better.
Participants were composed of the regional presidents of the Pambansang Mananalon-Mag-uugma-Magbabaul- Magsasaka ng Pilipinas (P4MP), Magsasaka-Siyentista cooperators/producers, Farmer-led Extension or Farmers Field School leaders from regions I, V and the Cordillera Administrative Region.  
The training course was held last September 27 to October 1, 2011 in Puerto Princesa City and El Nido in Palawan. (Yovina-Claire R. Agsawa)