Department of Science and Technology (DOST) region 10 poured in P6.6 million to Mt. Kitanglad Agro Eco-Tourism (MKAET) owned by Magsasaka Siyentista Benjamin Maputi Sr. to develop a science-based tourism farm site in Northern Mindanao.
The project aims to include technology needs in the context of innovation of farm tourism sites on their research and development programs and maximize benefits of agriculture and tourism combined to boost the economy of the country.
The farm located in barangay Sinaburan, Imbayao, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon is among the four projects in the country operating as the pioneering batch starting 2018.
Recently, the farm has been all over social media for its picture-perfect sceneries particularly their version of hobbit houses.
The 22-hectare farm is a tourist attraction where people can commune with nature alongside bird watching particularly the Philippine Eagle and is also used as an agricultural learning site.
MKAET, through the funding will enhance its capability to produce chemical free high-value crop vegetables being one of its niche offering providing meal package to tourists and visitors.
This will be done through a package of technologies using chemical-free cabbage and sweet pepper, lettuce, mints, and other high-value vegetables.
DOST will also implement a science and technology intervention in partnership with the local government of Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Agriculture (DA) through its Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) will conduct series of trainings to 50 local and small scale farmers on how to apply mature technologies of Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARD) in their farming practices.
DOST will also provide laboratory services to improve quality and productivity in their citronella oil production at the farm. ATI meanwhile, will facilitate the accreditation of MKAET to become a farm learning site.
Bukidnon provincial science and technology director, Virgilio M. Fuentes, also the author of the project has already signified commitment to assist the farm to be accredited by the DOT as farm tourism site where tourists can also enjoy educational and recreational activities.
The SciCAT project, he said, is an opportunity to promote farm tours, farm exhibits and hands-on activities for tourists in Malaybalay City. In return, it provides employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to the community, he added.
The project is a pioneering convergence of DOST, DA, and DOT in farm tourism. The success of the project is foreseen to encourage farmers to adopt environment-friendly technologies and maximize opportunities not only for profit but for the empowerment of their community, as a whole. (Julie Ann Honungan/DOST10)