MANILA-- The Department of Tourism (DOT) is keen on including climate-smart agriculture in its promotion of agri-tourism, a ranking official said Wednesday.
 
Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. noted that climate-smart agriculture is a "fairly new concept to some" but it is something that the DOT could include in its promotion of farm tourism.

"I think climate-smart (agriculture) and green technology, the movement has started already and the fact that we are seeing a lot of resort and hotels going green is an indication of deeper appreciation to protect the environment and in the long-term, for greater efficiency," he said in an interview on the sides of the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.

The DOT has recently included agri-tourism or farm tourism as a priority tourism product in the Philippines.

In the DOT blueprint, Bengzon said they have envisioned tourism to be "sustainable and inclusive."

"We want people in the countryside to benefit. This is part of the agenda of this administration. When you talk about countryside development, you want it spread all over the country," he said.

There are at least 105 accredited farm tourism sites, but there is no specific data produced yet on the number of farms that have adopted climate-smart farming or the integration of agriculture and climate responsiveness.

Including this component as an integral part of capacity-building efforts presents an opportunity for farmers and potential farm tourism site owners to aid in the country's climate change adaptation.

Although the Philippines is relatively a minor contributor to global greenhouse gases, it remains an agricultural country.

According to the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), agriculture-- both crop and livestock production-- "contributes to emissions."

But through climate-smart farming, the IIRR said it could also be "part of the solution."

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization describes CSA or climate-resilient farming as a strategy that seeks to sustainably increase agricultural productivity; to adapt and build climate change resilience; and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

IIRR Philippine program director Rene Vidallo said farms that adopt this approach focus heavily on soil and nutrient management; carbon sequestration; water and energy management; and crop diversification or sustainably augmenting production when certain fruits or crops are not in season. (PNA)