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BSWM, partners with 3rd farm tourism conference

By Loraine D. Cerillo - Project Development Officer II
July 04, 2015

The Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) actively supports the 3rd Farm Tourism Conference organized by International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) President Dr. Mina Gabor as co-convenor to the 3-day event held in Lucban, Quezon on July 1-3. The event was attended by more than 200 participants from the local government units (LGUs), farmers and from the academic sectors.

The BSWM as the focal government agency to the declaration of the United Nations 68th General Assembly through Food and Agriculture Organization of the year 2015, as the International Year of Soils takes on initiatives to promote the key messages of the IYS. The IYS aims to promote the importance of the soils and to increase awareness on the degraded lands.

The Guest of Honor and the Keynote Speaker, Senator Cynthia Villar commends the event for taking largely on numbers of attendees compared to previous Farm Tourism Conference. She also added that this number shows that there is a big potential in farm tourism in the country.

Furthermore, Villar, the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food mentioned the current run of the Senate Bill 2766 that aims to develop and promote farm tourism.

"One of those recent development is the senate hearing that we conducted on the farm tourism...I am talking about the Senate bill 2766 or the Farm Tourism Act of 2015 that seeks to establish a comprehensive program on the development and promotion of Farm Tourism.. Naipasa na po ito sa Congress," said Villar.

During the event, the BSWM Assistant Director Sonia Salguero presented the Philippine Initiatives in Support of the IYS relatively to the Soil and Water Resources Management. She emphasized the vital role that the soil portrays in achieving food security and yielding the country's produce to attain sustainable food supply.

Moreover, according to Salguero, the declaration of the IYS is a great opportunity for the BSWM as the focal agency to raise awareness about soil condition.

"The declaration of the 68th UN General Assembly for 2015 as the International Year of Soils is a great opportunity to unify our actions and raise awareness on the significance of soils for food and nutrition security and environmental protection."

The Bureau's aligned projects for the IYS are also one of the highlights of discussion during the event. The 3rd Farm Tourism Conference served as a great venue to encourage all participants to join in culminating activities facilitated by the BSWM to ignite all lined-up undertakings for the IYS.

A place for an exhibit was also set-up for the participants that includes banners and streamers, soil test kits (STKs), different types of soils, mokusaku (wood vinegar) usage and utilization and the IYS information materials, courtesy of the BSWM. The exhibit bags the attention of the participants especially the farmers during the major raffle of ten STKs. STKs can determine the soils' present nutrient and fertility to identify certain crops that can grow on it.

Together with the Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Municipality of Lucban in cooperation with the Province of Quezon, International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST), a fantastic array of specialists covered various topics in helping promote the farm tourism in the Philippines.

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