The concept of agri-tourism should already be introduced and promoted to farmers in Palawan, especially those living in marginalized areas who are in search of ways to increase their livelihood incomes, an agriculturist said.
Rico Tabal, who is also an organic farming consultant for the Yamang Bukid in Barangay Bacungan, said national and local governments should exert an extra effort to introduce the concept that has long been coined to help open up fresh opportunities for Palawan farmers.
“By principle, ang farmer ay hindi niya alam kung ano ang agri-tourism kaya mag-extra effort sana ang national and local governments natin na i-introduce ito sa farm level… doon sa kanila. Ang agri-tourism is an old concept but it has never been introduced to especially dito sa mga magsasaka natin sa marginalized areas. Kaya kung titingnan natin ang mga farmers natin hanggang ngayon, they are still the poorest of the poor,” he said.
Tabal said it has to be introduced to farmers, including entrepreneurship, and sustainable development to ensure food production and preservation of natural resources.
Right now, he said, Palawan farmers still lack knowledge about the concept that can help them if the LGUs will be able to make capital available.
“Kaunti lang ang nagbe-benefit sa ganitong type of business, why? Because it involves a lot of capital, which farmers cannot provide. ‘Yong farmers natin in rural areas they do farming for subsistence not for business. They don’t know about business kaya malaking trabaho talaga to introduce to them entrepreneurship and at the same time farming. Magkahiwalay ‘yon,” Tabal said.
Tabal added farmers lack the knowledge about agri-tourism as a potential source of income because they are less educated and many did not even graduate from high school.
He said this is where the LGUs, national government agencies, and farming stakeholders can help — educate farmers on entrepreneurship.
The approach should be multi-sectoral and not just dependent on the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Tabal also advised that instead of creating more agricultural laws, the government should instead focus on doing more
“Siguro isang advise ko sa mga legislator, stop making laws, action na tayo. One basic thing is titingnan kung anong fitted na law. Stop politicking, let’s bring those laws sa grassroot para matingnan natin. Ngayon, to really address poverty in rural farming areas they might do themselves. Punta sila doon hindi lang during campaign nandoon sila sa farm, puntahan nila ‘yong different constituents nila who are doing farming,” he pointed out.