Senator Cynthia Villar has renewed her call for the development of farm tourism and schools in the Philippines as she launches the 6th edition of her Farm Tourism Book for 2021.
The book, Villar said, consists of 2,805 listings of farm schools, tourism farms, learning sites and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Agri Centers in the Philippines from all the country’s 17 regions.
“From a list of only 386 in its first edition, the number of farm schools has reached over 2,367 in the fifth edition and now, we have 2,805 in the sixth edition,” Villar said.
These include the four farm schools built by Villar SIPAG in Las Piñas-Bacoor; San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan; San Miguel, Iloilo; and Davao City.
“I continue to urge farmers to follow the example of others who have since become more profitable after converting their farms into tourism and learning sites,” Villar said.
“They have tripled their income sources—from their crops or harvests, from tourists who visit their farms and from trainees who enroll in training programs,” the principal author and sponsor of Republic Act No. 10816 or the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016 further said.
Since its enactment, Villar said it paved the way for an increasing number of farmers, farm owners and farming communities to enjoy the benefits of converting their farms into farm tourism sites and farm schools.
“They have multiplied their earning sources–from their crops, from the tourists’ who visit their farm and buy products as well as from the tuition fees of the trainees in their farm schools being paid by TESDA,” she noted.
She said the farm schools serve as learning sites for farmers and plant enthusiasts who are given the opportunity to train for free on the ways of modern farming.
Once accredited by TESDA or by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), a farm school can avail of government support and scholarship grants as a learning site.
“Farm schools provide agriculture-related training to help remove the barriers that prevent Filipino farmers from being competitive and profitable, including the lack of technology, mechanization and financial literacy, and knowledge in operating a farm as a business and ability to access cheap credit,” Villar explained.
“With these projects, we hope to make our agriculture more competitive and profitable,” she reiterated.