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TTC Special: Agriculture and tourism are finally allies

TTC Special: Agriculture and tourism are finally allies

Photo: 123rf

By Frank Martin

TTC Service.-The economic benefit of agritourism to farms is significant but rather small.

However, experts believe that this modality that links agriculture with the tourism industry has a great future.

They believe that the potential long-run economic impacts of agritourism may not have been empirically investigated yet, leading to underestimation.

Studies on the subject nevertheless indicate that agritourism experience significantly alters consumers’ expenditure patterns in the food categories of grain, vegetable, fruit, meat, and fish.

Agricultural and on-farm nature tourism can be defined as businesses run by farmers as part of their normal operations for the enjoyment and education of visitors.

According to specialized sources the agricultural and natural tourism link have the potential to generate increased on-farm revenues, and, given strategic management, could also boost farm profitability.

On-farm tourism is also a way by which non-farmers can learn about agriculture and, in turn, support farm products through increased purchases made directly or indirectly from family farms.

Last week the ninth edition of the International Financial Summit, celebrated in Haiti, analyzed the possibilities of financing agrotourism or farm tourism. That because the modality begins to gain boom worldwide.

In the United States alone, this modality expanded between 2002 and 2007.

Other countries such as Italy and Canada are now studying the creation of new laws to support agrotourism.

There is a belief among sectors interested in the modality that countries with little economic development and natural beauties such as Haiti could adopt tourism from farms to increase their agricultural production and their income from tourism.

For the time beign in the Caribbean agritourism consists in several approaches that focus on selling local products and showcasing indigenous traditions that pertain to food and non- food items.

In the region are different types of agritourism activities.

One of them is when farmers and agri-processors make agribusiness deals with the hotel and restaurant sector to supply them with produce and processed foods.

It can be considered agrotourism the use of alternative bush medicines, natural remedies and organic treatments to enhance health and wellness.

Also sharing agricultural heritage with others through media such as craft, visits to old plantations or agricultural museums.

Local food festivals and culinary traditions are good examples.

Some plans in Caribbean islands looks for increase the acreage of cultivated land and to try and grow different types of food, including tilapia fish.

Jamaican-based chains such as Holiday Inn and Superclubs have iniciated programs which promote linkages between farmers and their hotels in collaboration with the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS).