June 24, 2017, 8:15 am
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Villar wants school field trips to include farm tourism spots

SEN. CYNTHIA VILLAR said school field trips should include farm tourism destinations in order to promote the career in agriculture as a worthwhile endeavor among the youth.

“Instead of taking our schoolchildren to accident-prone areas, school authorities should consider an itinerary composed of farm tourism spots and agricultural wonders sprouting all over the country,” Villar said.

For one, Villar said the Costales Nature Farms in Majayjay, Laguna offers educational and fun activities for students such as vegetable picking and planting, caring for farm animals, and orientation on healthy eating habits.

In Nueva Ecija, Villar added, the Philippine Carabao Center is one of the best farm tourism destinations with its training center, hotel, shops and museum.

“The Philippines as an agricultural country is blessed with abundant natural resources, biological diversity and cultural heritage. We have what it takes to take a strong lead in farm tourism in the region, and even globally,” Villar said.

Villar, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food and principal sponsor of  Senate Bill 3002 or “An Act providing for the development and promotion of farm tourism in the Philippines and for other purposes,” also welcomed the passage of the bill on third reading at the Senate and at the House of Representatives.

The Nacionalista Party senator also suggested the publication of a book showcasing the farm tourism destinations by provinces and also information materials for farmers to teach them on the benefits of farm tourism.

Among the salient features of the bill is the formulation of a Farm Tourism Strategic Action Plan consistent with the National Tourism Development Plan. This will provide the specific programs and activities that need to be done by government agencies and industry stakeholders.

Under the bill, the Farm Tourism Development Board composed of private sector/industry stakeholders will also be created.

The incentives and tax exemptions identified in the original bills were removed since incentives are already mandated under different laws.

“Farm tourism will be a major contributor in bringing back the glory days of agriculture in our country given the potential to increase the income of people involved in agriculture as well as to help solve the problem of urban migration,” Villar said.
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