NegOcc gears up for dev’t of 1st farm tourism village

Erwin P. Nicavera

THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental, along with other organizations, is gearing up for the development of the first farm tourism village in the province.

An ocular activity was conducted at Barangay Mailum in Bago City on Tuesday for the proposed farm tourism village in the area.

Cristine Mansinares, provincial supervising tourism operations officer, who spoke at the activity, said the province currently has no farm tourism village, or a group of farmers who are operating their farm tourism business.

Negros Occidental only has farm resorts and day farms. Of which, four are accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT) like the Rapha Valley Place of Wellness in Don Salvador Benedicto, Peñalosa Farm in Victorias City, May's Organic Garden and Restaurant in Bacolod City, and Owataks Herb Farm and Resort in Talisay.

Mansinares said that during the activity, the community shared what they have – wealth of natural and cultural resources.

“This effort will hopefully lead towards promoting environment-friendly, efficient, and sustainable farm practices,” she added.

The establishment of a farm tourism village in the province, targeted next year, is also positioned to provide alternative recreational facilities and promote health and wellness.

It will also equip local farmers to generate additional farm income.

Mansinares said the Provincial Government is currently in the scoping and profiling stage.

“The development plan will be crafted first quarter of next year. We will have more consultations with the stakeholders,” she said.

The ocular activity was attended by officers and members of Mailum Organic Village Association, Friends of the Highlands Agrarian Reform Cooperative, and Eco-Agri Development Foundation.

Aside from Provincial Tourism Office, participating government agencies include the Tourism Affairs and Agriculture Offices of Bago City, Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, Organic Farming Development and Promotion Division of Negros Occidental, and the Office of Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and food.