By Janina C. Lim

Aquino signs law on farm tourism

Posted on May 20, 2016

PRESIDENT Benigno S. C. Aquino III has signed into law a bill that would allow farm owners to earn additional income from tourism.

Mr. Aquino last Monday signed Republic Act 10816 or the “Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016,” which recognizes that “tourism, coupled with agriculture extension services, can disseminate the value of agriculture in the economic and cultural development of the country,” according to a news circular issued on Thursday.

RA 10816 is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 3002 and House Bill No. 5299, which the Senate and House approved on February.

The law defines farm tourism as “the practice of attracting visitors and tourists to farm areas for production, educational and recreational purposes.” Farm tourism can help supplement incomes in rural areas, where poverty rates are highest.

The law mandates the creation of a Farms Tourism Strategic Action Plan, which will be integrated with the National Tourism Development Plan.

The Plan serves as a comprehensive blueprint of programs and projects in the areas of investment promotion and financing; market research, trends, innovations and information; accreditation of farm tourism camps; market promotion and development; agriculture and fishery research; development and extension; institutional and human resource development; and infrastructure support.

The law creates the Farm Tourism Development Board, which shall be attached to the Department of Tourism (DoT) and will be tasked with overseeing implementation of the Farm Tourism Plan.

The board shall be headed by the Tourism secretary as chairman, and the Agriculture secretary as vice-chair. Members of the board include the Trade secretary and several private sector representatives from farmers’ cooperatives, inbound tour operators and educational institutions.