By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) launched an agri-tourism project that aims to enhance the capabilities of the Ati community in Boracay Island, Aklan.
The project will develop the 3.2064-hectare land awarded to the Boracay Ati Tribal Organization (BATO) in 2018.
On Thursday, DAR gathered various stakeholders to a forum to discuss the support they can extend to implement the development plan for the Ati community in Boracay.
DAR Western Visayas Regional Director Stephen Leonidas said that upon the directives of Secretary John Castriciones, they sent consultants to survey and study the development of the land awarded to the Atis.
During the forum, the consultants will present how to develop the parcels of land for the Ati community. The distribution of land would be useless without the necessary support, Leonidas said.
Leonidas emphasized that the project would help the Atis earn extra income and at the same time promote tourism in the island.
Once this plan would be developed, it will not only promote tourism but also serve as a source of income for the Ati communities, he said in a phone interview,
According to Leonidas, they are eyeing an agri-tourism project that would develop the agricultural lands and help supply the needed demand of the increasing influx of tourists in the island.
He added that most vegetable and fruit requirements of hotels and resorts are sourced outside the island.
We are planning to develop the agricultural lands which will be distributed to Atis and hopefully they can produce crops that would supply vegetable and fruits in the Island. Based on a survey, 80-90 of the fruits and vegetables here are supplied by Baguio and Mindoro, Leonidas said.
To enhance their communication skills especially with the tourists, Leonidas said part of the development plan is also teaching the Atis Mandarin and Korean languages.
We will teach them Mandarin and Korean languages so that they can learn how to interact with the tourists, he said.
In the previous interviews, Castriciones intimated that the agri-tourism aspect of the land utilization would provide financial learning to the Atis and eventually improve their economic lives.
We already have plans on how the Atis would be assisted on how they would be able to utilize the land. We are looking at the agri-tourism aspect of the land utilization that would really give them a lot of financial earning that would somehow improve their economic lives, he said.