By Perla Lena
ILOILO CITY – Guimaras continues to strengthen its agri-tourism industry with the holding of its first dragon fruit festival to entice neighboring areas in Western Visayas to experience the celebration that introduces the crop to a wider clientele.
“Through this I think we will realize that this is one potential commodity in the province of Guimaras,” said Governor JC Rahman Nava in a recent press conference.
The festival will be held from Sept. 29-30, 2022, and will also mark the Tourism Month celebration in the province. Around 17 hectares in the province have been dedicated to dragon fruit with 36 individual growers.
In 2021, dragon fruit production reached 12,000 kilos or around 12.4 metric tons and the same volume production was recorded as of September this year, data from the Provincial Office for Agricultural Services of Guimaras showed. At least one ton of the fruit was allotted for the festival.
Liberty Ferrer, Senior Tourism Operations Officer, said they localized “Rethinking Tourism” theme of Tourism Month celebration into “Rethinking Agro-Tourism” to promote sustainable tourism to include the agri-fishery sectors in the province.
“This is a fresh experience for the province of Guimaras and as mentioned, it is an opportunity to strengthen our tourism in line with farm- and eco-tourism. We expect as well a good number of visitors for the province. By holding events, this is our way of increasing the visitor traffic for the island,” she added.
In partnership with the Guimaras Agri-Tourism Farmers, Owners, and Operators Association, the two-day event will open with a bike caravan from the Jordan wharf to the provincial capitol grounds in San Miguel, Jordan on September 29, to be followed by the opening of the agri-eco trade fair.
Provincial Economic and Development Officer Angeles Gabinete said there would be a dragon fruit classroom where guests can get information on how to propagate and manage the crop.
Other events include a job fair where employment awaits those interested to work in the dragon fruit farm, a dragon fruit kitchen that will showcase the products and cuisine out of the commodity, a health salon featuring skin products, health care recipes, and a business forum. (PNA)