Press Release
July 4, 2015

Villar: Farm tourism will help solve urban migration

Sen. Cynthia Villar stressed the potential of farm tourism in helping solve the problem of urban migration, which is placing stress on public services in Metro Manila and other urban areas.

"Farm tourism would contribute to rural development, para hindi na kakailanganin ng mga taga-probinsya na pumunta pa sa mga urban areas," Villar said.

She noted that development in the countryside that will generate employment opportunities will stop the influx of people from the provinces, easing traffic, mass transportation, and employment woes in Metro Manila.

Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, made this assertion during the 3rd Farm Tourism Conference held recently in Lucban, Quezon. The conference adopted the theme "Healthy Soils for a Healthy Life" to support the United Nations (UN) declaration of 2015 as International Year of Soils.

"The more I talk to industry stakeholders and visit tourist farms here and abroad, lalong umiigting ang aking conviction that farm tourism is really one industry that will be a major contributor in bringing back the glory days of agriculture in our country," she added.

Recently, Villar visited agri-tourism sites in Negros Occidental such as Fresh Start Organics, May's Organic Garden and Restaurant, and Rapha Valley. She also travelled to Taiwan last month to gather information on the management practices of world-class leisure farms there.

The Nacionalista Party senator also vowed to pursue the enactment into law of the bill she authored, Senate Bill 2766 or the Farm Tourism Act of 2015 that seeks to establish a comprehensive program for the development and promotion of farm tourism.

"We will pursue the enactment into law of the said bill, because an enabling environment is important in order to boost the momentum of growth of farm tourism or agri-tourism," she said.

Villar said the law will work for the benefit of not only the big and established sites, but also for many small, family-owned, community-based farms that are functioning as agri-tourism sites.

"As a country blessed with abundant natural resources, biological diversity and cultural heritage, naniniwala ako that we have what it takes to take a strong lead in farm tourism in the region and even globally. All we need is an enabling environment, including a clear legislation and a proper taxation system," she added.

The conference, held from July 1 to 3, was participated in by more than 200 farm tourism stakeholders and also attended by Lucban Mayor Celso Dator.

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