The departments of agriculture and tourism are looking into strengthening their ties and combining their core competencies to aid the country’s economic recovery amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
The tourism sector is among the most badly hit by the pandemic as lockdowns affected both international and domestic travel. Meanwhile, the moribund agriculture sector was surprisingly able to grow during the lockdowns.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the Department of Agriculture would vigorously promote farm tourism as it catalyzes and sustains the inclusive development of farming and fishing communities, and provides employment and livelihood to other rural folk, women and youth in agri-tourism sites.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat noted that more local residents are now interested in farm tourism, which can be a good bounce back strategy for both the Department of Tourism and DA. It helps that Puyat served as agriculture undersecretary for 12 years before her appointment to DOT chief.
A farm tourism investment plan would allow the DA and DOT to complement each other as they network such sites all over the country while linking them directly to markets and restaurants so fresh farm produce can be sold at better prices.
Showcasing farm tourism in the regions in the best way possible will also promote the fledgling industry that could have enormous potential if properly tapped.
Organic farms, nature-friendly farms, and health and wellness farms are among the top farm tourism destinations in the Philippines.
Economic recovery will be a challenge in the coming months and it will require greater cooperation and synergy between national government agencies, local government units and the private sector. If the DOT and DA pull this off, the farm tourism initiative can give us model for similar programs where the increased cooperation and coordination that we had been expecting from government agencies can finally be realized.*