DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 July) — The City Agriculture office will push for “agriculture tourism” to further boost the economy of the city as well as to have an increased productivity among upland farmers.
Leonardo Avila III, City Agriculture Office chief, said this city has “agriculture tourism” potentials citing the vast agricultural lands.
Avila, a former city councilor (1988 to 1998, 2001 to 2010) cited Malagos district as one of the top tourist destinations of the city.
Malagos district is home to the Philippine Eagle Center, Malagos Garden Resort, dairy farms and even plantations.
“Even a banana plantation can be a tourist attraction,” he said.
Avila also said the city government will also develop the 4.5-hectare seed bank in Malagos District that can also serve as a model farm for entrepreneurs.
“The city government will really develop and promote the area,” he stressed.
Among the crops that can be planted in the upland areas, Avila said, are rubber, cacao and coffee.
Cacao and coffee do not require vast land areas because they can be planted between trees, he pointed out.
Eventually, an increased agricultural productivity can be expected in these areas.
He admitted that Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has given him marching orders to increase productivity of the farmers in the upland areas.
Avila added that the mayor also ordered him to improve the delivery of services in the rural areas.
For now, Avila said his office currently conducting an inventory of the people, funds, projects, lands, and other data needed to come up with a roadmap to a sustainable agricultural program in the city.
Avila note that it is expensive to develop the agriculture sector but it is needed to address food insufficiency gap.
Avila also relayed that the city mayor has ordered the construction of additional farm-to-market roads in the upland areas.
“The farmers are currently transporting their farm produce using horses and it has been found out that this has contributed to wastage of their produce,” he said.
Avila said the city government is set to open eight more vegetable trading centers or bagsakan to allow more farmers to directly sell their produce to the market.
Only Bankerohan Public Market has an existing bagsakan center.
Avila also bared that a vehicle will also be provided by the Department of Agriculture and city government to help the farmers deliver their produce to the market.
But the DA has yet to identify the proposed bagsakan centers, he said. (Keith Bacongco / MindaNews)