Senator Cynthia Villar went to Taiwan to gather information on a bill promoting farm tourism in the country. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, she led a study tour of the best agri-tourism sites in Taiwan.
"Agriculture-tourism can be considered as the 'sunshine industry' in the agriculture sector. It can augment the income of our people in agriculture. That's why we are working on this bill that will allow our farmers and fishermen to seize this opportunity," Villar said. Included in the itinerary in Taiwan is the Golden Town Leisure Farm Zone, Young Lake Resort, Mile High Cafe and Leisure farm, Da-hu Strawberry Winery, Flying Cow Ranch, Dream Works of the Mei, Taomi Eco-Village, Paper Dome, and Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Corporation. The tour was arranged by the Development Acadamy of the Philippines and the Asian Productivity Council.
Villar has already conducted a committee hearing and several technical working groups on the bills filed in the Senate on the matter, including the one she authored – Senate Bill 2766 or the Farm Tourism Act of 2015. The pending bills in the Senate seek to specify the programs that must be done to promote and support farm tourism as well as create the Philippine Farm Tourism Industry Development Coordinating Council.
Villar was also in Negros Occidental to gather inputs on the attractions and management of farm tourism sites there. Among the farms she visited were Fresh Start Organics, May's Organic Garden and Restaurant, and Rapha Valley.She also turned over composting equipment to Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella. She also visited a Bamboo Plantation site in Maasin, Iloilo for engineered bamboo development which can be a potential tourism destination as well.
"Farm tourism can also help solve the problem of urban migration, which is placing stress on public services in urban areas. Development in the rural areas can help stem the tide of urban migration.
Farm tourism will certainly contribute to rural development, and people don't have to move to the cities in great numbers," she said.