KALIBO, Aklan, July 28 — Senator Cynthia Villar urged local officials in Aklan to develop more agri-tourism destinations in the province.
Villar, who served as guest speaker during the blessing and inauguration of the new building of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan on Thursday afternoon, underscored the need for the creation of more agriculture-based tourism in the country.
“Agri-tourism is the next big thing in the tourism sector,” she noted.
But more than just following the trend, Villar who heads the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food said through agri-tourism both the agriculture and tourism, which are engines of the economy, would flourish.
Villar stressed agri-tourism would likewise open more opportunities for farmers, who despite their big contributions to the economy remained among the poorest sector.
“It is so unfortunate that the one raising the food that we are eating are lacking in food,” said Villar.
According to Villar, the average income of farmers is only around PHP4,500, way less compared to the PHP6,500 needed to feed a family of five.
“I see farm tourism as a way out of poverty for them (farmers,) as it will increase their income and give them other livelihood and business opportunities,” she added.
Villar, who is a successful businesswoman prior to joining politics, also noted that the farmers should be guided to uplift their situation by improving their entrepreneurial mindset.
“We need to guide them to have a business mindset,” she said adding that farmers could create products and services to attract tourists.
Besides the legislative support, Villar said training for farmers should also be consistent.
Meanwhile, the development and promotion of farm tourism sites in the country are stipulated in the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016 which was authored by Villar.