Aquino expected to sign Farm Tourism Act
Congress is waiting for President Aquino to sign the Farm Tourism Development Act, which seeks to improve the income and economic viability of small farmers and rural communities.
The bill was ratified last February 2 before Congress adjourned for the campaign period.
Rep. Sharon Garin, chairwoman of the House committee on food security, said the enrolled bill will maximize the benefits of agriculture and tourism by promoting environment-friendly and sustainable farm practices, providing alternative recreation facilities and farm tourism activities, and promoting health and wellness with high-quality farm-produced food.
The ratified bill defines farm tourism as “the practice of attracting visitors and tourists to farm areas for production, educational and recreational purposes.
It involves any agricultural- or fishery-based operation or activity that brings to a farm visitors, tourists, farmers and fisherfolk who want to be educated and trained on farming and its related activities, and provides a venue for outdoor recreation and accessible family outings.”
The bill provides for a Farm Tourism Strategic Action that would be integrated with the National Tourism Development Plan.
The measure provides for the creation of the Farm Tourism Development Board, which shall be attached to the tourism department, which shall formulate plans and programs for the development and promotion of farm tourism and shall set the overall direction for the implementation of the Farm Tourism Plan.
The Board shall also formulate and oversee the conduct of farm tourism research and development projects to ensure sustainability of the country’s farm tourism program, and create technical panels, working groups, or task forces that will assist the Board in the performance of its functions.
The Farm Tourism Development Board shall be headed by tourism secretary as chairman, and the agriculture secretary as vice chair.
The trade secretary, the president of an educational institution providing farm tourism programs to be identified by the DOT and the DA, the president of a national farm tourism organization, the president of a national inbound tour operators association; and the president of a national federation of farmers cooperatives will serve as members.