A DEVELOPMENT plan is being prepared for the 3.2064 hectares of land initially awarded to the Boracay Ati Tribal Organization (BATO) last year, with the indigenous community being positioned as suppliers of fruit and vegetables for the tourism industry.

The farm could also serve as an agri-tourism site, with community members trained in foreign language lessons and other hosting skills.

“We are planning to develop the agricultural land… and hopefully they can produce crops that would supply the island. Based on a survey, 80% to 90% of the fruits and vegetables here are supplied by Baguio and Mindoro,” Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Western Visayas Regional Director Stephen M. Leonidas said in a phone interview.

Last week, DAR convened various island stakeholders to discuss the support needed for the implementation of the development plan.

“During the forum, the consultants presented how to develop the parcels of land for the Ati community. The distribution of land will be useless without the necessary support,” Mr. Leonidas said.

“Once this plan (is) developed, it will not only promote tourism but also serve as a source of income for the Ati communities,” he added.

The Ati farms are also being positioned for agri-tourism.

Mr. Leonidas said part of the development plan involves enhancing the communication skills of the Atis, allowing them to interact with visitors, including the island’s top foreign guests, South Koreans and Chinese.

The awarding of the land to the Ati community is part of the Boracay rehabilitation program. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo