SEARCA wants gov’t to groom Boracay as an agri-tourism site
Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) said it will be strategic for the Philippine government to groom Boracay Island as an agri-tourism site.
This, while the island is closed for a six-month rehabilitation.
SEARCA Director Gil Saguiguit said SEARCA’s agritourism proposal in Boracay will teach small, Indigenous People (IP) farmers best agricultural practices, involve them in the value chain, and introduce them to agri-tourism.
“The most important component would be to teach farmers of Boracay agri-tourism as an alternative source of income in the mold of Ubud in Bali, Indonesia where there are paddy areas which attract tourists as much as the island’s world-famous beaches,” Saguiguit said.
“With the world watching the rehabilitation of Boracay, SEARCA sees this time as an excellent window for demonstrating sustainable agriculture practices to show that the invigorated farms would not only be economically viable but also environmentally sound. The importance of forest rehabilitation, re-planting, and protection will also be stressed with possibly significant involvement of indigenous people,” he added.
What’s good about Boracay right now is that farmers will not incur hefty transportation costs just to sell their farm produce.
Whatever farmers produce, they can sell right on the island.
“They don’t have to bring out their produce. They can sell raw products to hotels and other tourist locations and explore possibilities for postharvest processing into alternative heft that tourists would buy. These are essentials in an island economy,” Saguiguit further said.
Also, farmers can actually earn from the tourism boom by providing opportunities for tourists to experience a rural farm setting in the Philippines without having to get away from Boracay.
This concept, which is called “experience economy”, has already been adopted by developed economies like that of Taiwan and Thailand.
“With an “experience” in rural farming– harvesting of fruits and vegetables such as picking of strawberry or staying for one day in a fishing village while catching one’s own fish to cook for a meal, tourism becomes more attractive and saleable to more urban people,” SEARCA said.
“With visitors ‘experiencing’ the agricultural life, Taiwan has made its tourism sector progressive,” it added.