Agricultural/Agri Tourism

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Tourism is an ever growing sector. It is one of the major sources of employment and economic growth. With more people trying to escape the monotonous city life, there are an infinite number of opportunities coupled with potential outstanding rewards. One of the recent trends in tourism is Agri Tourism. It is defined as “a set of activities
that occur when people link travel with the products, services, and experiences of agriculture”. People are looking for new experiences, adding diversity to their experiences, and looking to “get back to their roots”. It also provides a unique experience to people who didn’t grow up on a farm. It helps to quench the curiosity of people about farming lifestyle. Agri Tourism helps the people to connect to their past and get unplugged family time.

Agri Tourism activities include:

 On Farm Direct Sales of farm products, value added products
 Accommodation in farm stays, camping, farm to table dining
 Special Events such as harvest festivals, field mazes, bird watching, wine tasting
 Outdoor Recreation like fishing, horseback riding, petting zoos
 Educational Activities like egg gathering, milking, ploughing the fieldAgri Tourism activities include:
 On Farm Direct Sales of farm products, value added products
 Accommodation in farm stays, camping, farm to table dining
 Special Events such as harvest festivals, field mazes, bird watching, wine tasting
 Outdoor Recreation like fishing, horseback riding, petting zoos
 Educational Activities like egg gathering, milking, ploughing the field

Why Agri Tourism?

More people are interested in knowing thesour ce of their food and how it is produced. There is a growing need for transparency in the supply chain of agri produce. Locally produced foods entice tourists to a large extent. Customers are moving towards local buying and are willing to connect with the farmers to know about the foods, its process
of growing and its origins. Local foods preserve the genetic diversity of crops and
promote energy conservation as it transported less and requires less
packaging.
School Tours to farms teach students about the activities in farms and the importance of farming. They receive hands on experience in the farms and can familiarise themselves with the daily farm tasks. This helps them in understanding that food doesn’t just come out of the shelves in the grocery store or the refrigerators in their kitchen. The students also get exposed to the arts and culture of the rural folk.

Benefits of Agri Tourism

Agri Tourism helps people understand the importance of maintaining agricultural land and traditional arts and culture. It plays an important role in making the common man understand the various agricultural issues a farmer has to face. Agri Tourism can also help in raising awareness about the benefits of organic farming. In organic farming, the crops are grown without the use of any chemical fertilizers, plant protection chemicals or plant growth promoters. The tourists can understand how crops are grown in organic agriculture and hence appreciate the fact that they are obtaining value for money while buying organic agri produce.

Farmer’s income depends on monsoon, harvest and the market. Though the expenses for a farmer come daily, the income comes only a few times in a year.

Agri Tourism is a natural way to supplement farmers’ income. It is an alternate enterprise from which farmers derive a larger income. The tourists help the farmer by participating in farm related activities such as planting, feeding animals, fruit picking, etc. Farmers get to know about the needs of the customer that they are serving too. Agri Tourism creates employment on farm and reduces the need to migrate to the cities for jobs. It also helps to fund cottage industries in villages.

Training provided by the government can help in stabilising rural economies and provide them with diverse sources of income. This improves the standard of living in rural areas and ensures sustainability in the long run.

Trends in Agri Tourism

Global Agri Tourism market size is expected to grow by $54.63 billion during 2019-2023, at CAGR of about 18%. There are only a few players in the market and hence is fragmented. Agri Tourism can help rescue several small farms from closing down.

Technological advancements will be one of the key drivers in this market. When tourists with high demands and expectations visit farms for great experiences, an upgradation of facilities in the rural area is unavoidable. Most of the rural areas in India have poor accessibility.

This should be improved in order to attract more tourists. Creating long lasting relationship is an important factor. Since most of the agri produce is seasonal, the customers can be given special tour packages during this time. Timely updation of this information to customers who have visited the farm before can ensure repeat visits.

The Government has a vital role in encouraging Agri Tourism by providing the farmers with the recognition needed, develop regulations and policies that supports and nurtures the business, provide financial assistance for start-ups in this sector, and conduct training programs for the rural workforce. With proper marketing and promotion activities (Incredible India campaign) this sector has great entrepreneurship opportunity

Dr. Monika Mathur

Ph.D Yale University

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