LINGAYEN – Governor Amado I. Espino III commended the Department of Tourism (DOT) in coming up with a new program which is farm tourism, a merging of agriculture and tourism.
This developed as the governor disclosed during the Farm Tourism Regional Consultative Workshop held recently at the Pangasinan Training and Development Center (PTDC), the plan of the provincial government to transform one of its breeding stations located in Malabobo, Mangatarem as an agri-tourism site with a concept of establishing a mini-zoo inside the farm.
In stating this, Gov. Espino mentioned that the envisioned project will redound to the benefit of the younger generation who are not aware of any agriculture or farm concept anymore.
“It will be a farm, at the same time, a site where learnings on farming will be passed on to the younger generation,” he said further stating that part of the plan is to provide a space also for other provinces in the region to bring and showcase their products.
The governor also said that the present administration will coordinate with the DOT and Pangasinan farmers in planning for the would-be project.
Meanwhile, DOT Regional Director Martin Valera noted that Pangasinan is an ideal site for the project owing to the fact that the province owns about half of the total land area in Region 1.
The program, he said, is a relatively new endeavor of the national government that seeks to promote farm tourism throughout the country although there is already an existing Farm Tourism Act which was introduced by Senator Cynthia Villar.
Farm tourism, the DOT regional director stressed, is an important sector in bringing agriculture and tourism, next to industry, to greater heights.
The whole day event which was participated in by farm owners and local government unit representatives from Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union and Pangasinan, was highlighted with messages of support from various line agencies like Dept. of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), presentation of the regional situationer by RD Valera, safety and security presentation, and the workshop activity wherein the participants were divided into groups.
In the workshop activity, participants were asked to enumerate their farm tourism programs/projects/activities along with their identified responsible agencies, their timetable and estimated budgetary requirements.
Survey questionnaire were also distributed and filled up by the participants for their project background information, project assessment, and prospect as farm tourism operator.
The DOT assured full support over farms that will be accredited for the project. The agency’s support includes farm visitation and assessment. (Ruby R. Bernardino)