NOTE: THIS PRESS RELEASE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Rep. Erico Aristotle of Bohol’s 2nd District wants more support for agriculture with tourism – not just tourism alone.
Aumentado urged fellow local leaders to also focus on agriculture instead of concentrating only on bringing in tourists.
Bohol has been gradually opening its doors to visitors through “tourism bubbles” in the hopes of invigorating the bleeding tourism industry.
“But pushing support for tourism while adopting a lackadaisical attitude towards agriculture cannot bring development to Bohol, it being basically an agricultural province,” the solon said.
While a major economic driver, the tourism sector represents less than 10 percent of the Boholanos. Even graduates of tourism and tourism-related courses and industry workers, more often than not, are children of farmers who till the land for sustenance.
But the corona virus is a great leveler.
To bridge the gap, Aumentado said agriculture must also be given attention. Developing tourism alone is the sure-fire formula for failure. After all, the tourism sector also eats, and the abundance of reasonably-priced food in all varieties is already one tourism come-on.
Hotel bookings, restaurant reservations and tour arrangements can already be done on line. Travelers keep in touch with their respective families back home, their tour guides and vehicle drivers through the internet or their cellular phones.
Most farmers, however, do not have the same luxury or easy means of research. They need guidance through face to face conversations with agriculturists or even agriculture technicians.
Aumentado said it would be best if the farmers can be guided as to what and where to plant, what seeds or plant varieties are most suitable for the type of soil of their farms, what fertilize to use, etc.
Above all, he added, they should be provided links to the market to eliminate the several layers of middlemen who usually make the biggest profit out of the farm produce.
Only when the farmers are empowered can Bohol rise again to pre-CoViD-19 heights – or even higher, the solon concluded. (June S. Blanco)