AGROTOURISM

Farmers Pride International runs several agrotourism projects in Africa through its country branches where farming is brought together under cluster farming projects and the hub farm is then set up as a tourist destination, this is mostly done in the rural setup where FPI is working on promoting rural development.  

“The farmer-driven by self-interest has a better chance of waging the war against hunger than the state with all the resources and knowledge at its disposal. We simply need to find ways of identifying African champions who, through a demonstration on the ground, can influence and inspire others to join the food supply train.” These words were spoken by Dr Brylyne Chitsunge, Africa’s first Pan African Ambassador for Food Security years ago, and they ring just as true today as an increasing number of farmers seek to diversify their product offerings, not least through agritourism. 

To understand more about agrotourism, let's take a look at what the U.S. Travel Association says about it. Travel and tourism is a $1,036 billion industry in the United States that has directly generated more than 8.8 million jobs.

 

The U.S. travel industry ranks as the seventh-largest employer and among the top 10 industries in 49 states, including the District of Columbia, when measured by employment. Travel and tourism generate $165 billion in tax revenue for federal, state and local governments, with the restaurant industry accounting for the majority of this economic activity.

What is agritourism?

Agritourism is a commercial business at a working farm or agricultural operation conducted for the enjoyment of visitors that generates supplemental income for the owner.

 

Agritourism includes many areas of outdoor recreation, retreat, education, accommodation or entertainment.  A few examples of agritourism are:

  • Retreat and rendezvous centres;

  • Nature centres;

  • Farm tours for families and school children;

  • Farm-based lodging and cross-country ski and snowshoe trails;

  • Children’s educational day camps;

  • Country overnight bed and breakfast;

  • Bird or big-game hunting preserves;

  • Bird and wildlife watching;

  • Corn mazes and haunted forests;

  • Petting farms;

  • Hands-on U-pick;

  • Winery/Vineyard;

  • Horse-back, hay, sleigh, vintage tractor, snow-machine or sledge-dog rides.

  • Farmers Markets;

  • Rural weddings;

  • Nature reserve on farmers' land

  • Accommodation/Camping Fields

  • Activities e.g. Hiking, Cycling; Fishing

  • Farm, Animal Touch Farms

  • Gaming Farms

  • Direct sales to tourists of produce

  • Historic farms (cultural villages)

Africa has a greater chance to benefit from Agrotourism if it is planned and implemented strategically.

WORK WITH US TO START A PROJECT

MANAGMENT

Starting:

 

Agro/ Agritourism business there are several issues to consider. University specialists suggest that you closely examine the following factors:

  • Define the "attraction” that will draw initial, then repeat, customers;

  • Research your competitors and cooperators (how you fit into the existing agritourism landscape), identify support and advisory teams of state and industry professionals;

  • Develop a simple feasibility study, then a business and marketing plan;

  • Have your feasibility study, business and marketing plans reviewed by a knowledgeable third party (industry, trade organization or extension professional);

  • Review other issues such as insurance, labour and biosecurity (especially if food is involved).

  • Develop a risk-management plan (first-aid availability, emergency contacts and procedures).

SUSTAINABLE AGROTOURISM

Benefits:

  • Provides additional income

  • Appreciates in value

  • Efficiently uses underutilized resources

  • Preserves farmland

  • Share agricultural heritage and rural lifestyle with visitors

  • Maintains family attention and interest

  • Provides an opportunity to meet people

  •  Provides a chance to play a role in community activities

  • Promotes the agriculture industry

SUSTAINABLE AGROTOURISM

Worth thinking about:

 

While Tourism continues to grow in Africa, agriculture, particularly small to medium-size farms, struggles

  • Misunderstanding of what Agrotourism in Africa is all about

  • Rural signage problematic

  • Provides low financial returns, at least in the beginning

  • Interferes with farming operations

  •  Hard Work

  • Adds workload to family members

  • Demands constant attention

  •  Lack of privacy

  •  Requires you to be upbeat, available & attentive

  •  Involves risk and liability - Does the farm liability policy cover the Agritourism enterprise, or are they excluded as a separate business?

AGROTOURISM

The FPI project shall create a conducive environment for investments and public partnerships to promote agritourism and its associated value chains in order to improve agricultural productivity and scale up local sourcing. To achieve these goals, FPI relies on key partnerships with regional and national institutions in agriculture, tourism, trade and health, working with farmer organisations and the private sector.

Examples of Sustainable Agritourism 

  •  Botswana’s Department of Tourism is accepting applications to license tourism accommodation on farms, but only legally licensed working farms that allocate 15% of the farm’s entire area would qualify. If the farm does not continue with its farming activities, the licence is revoked.

  • Agritourism in Zanzibar is well established with the Spice route being a major attraction for tourists who want to learn about the many types of spices grown on farms.

  •  Agritourism models in Italy, Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

  •  A few farmers in Ghana have named a restaurant "Farmers Pride Restaurant" based on the American concept of celebrating local, healthy, fresh and traditional products in a family atmosphere. On the menu of the restaurant, you will find traditional Ghanaian dishes made with local products, paying attention to food quality and environmental sustainability.

Best Practices in Agritourism

  • To attract visitors to rural areas away from major cities to increase employment

  • To increase the income of our farming communities

  •  To help stop the migration of people to the major cities

  • To enhance community pride and rejuvenate the regional culture

  •  To enhance the quality of life of rural communities and create opportunities

  •  To reduce the impact of seasonality on rural communities

  •  To support our Agriculture industry

Sustainable Tourism

  • Agritourism must promote tourism that is economically sustainable, socially equitable, environmentally friendly and culturally authentic.

  • Transportation – carbon footprint – drive as opposed to flying. If you fly, fly in an aeroplane with a carbon calculator

  • Eco-friendly environments – investigate certification claims and do not believe everything you read!

  • The most important thing in any country must be the Social Impact of Sustainable Tourism

 

The Human Factor:

 

  • What impact is your project making on the local people?

  • You must use Local Staff used in tourism establishments/attractions

  • Is the money kept within the community or in the tourism establishment owned by an international company?

  • Does your tourism businesses support environmental or educational projects?

  • Can travellers learn from the locals and vice versa?

  • Carbon footprint is important, but what about “handprint”? Do you interact with the community?

  • Are the art/gifts made by the local community?

  • What relationships have you created with the local community?​

FPI Guiding principles of sustainable Agritourism 

  • We assist farmers to educate tourists on the practice of sustainable farming and rural development

  • We build Environmental Awareness, including awareness of the importance of Biodiversity (Media)

  • We empower farm staff through tourism and entrepreneurship training 

  • We explain to tourists the different farming ethics around farming methods, for example, organic farming

  • We make local farm-fresh products available for sale directly to Agritourists

  • We share agricultural heritage with visitors

  • We improve relationships between farmers and the local communities

  • We assist farmers with their marketing (Who/Why/When/Where) and social media campaigns.

We also work with our country branches and partners in different countries across the world to set up agrotourism projects.