On March 24th, a tweet about a mega chilli farm in Kaduna blew up online. Everyone was so taken by the pictures that it raised a storm. Some said it was not a pepper farm but a place where pepper was sun-dried. Others began a debate about exporting the peppers as raw material or building facilities to refine it before export. The assertion was that importing it as a refined product would cost Nigeria more than exporting it as a refined product.
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I, on the other hand, was curious whether visiting farms (not just plantations) could be a form of tourist activity. We have so many farms in Nigeria and I started thinking, how can we include agribusiness into the Nigerian tourism scene? This led me to the term, Agritourism, sometimes called agrotourism.
Agritourism according to the Merriam-Webster definition is the practice of touring agricultural areas to see farms and often to participate in farm activities. As far back as 2004, there has been an ongoing discussion about Agritourism in Nigeria. People have desired to position Nigeria as an eco-farm friendly tour destination where sustainable farming practices are carried out. There are even videos on YouTube of Nigerians practising Hydroponics farming in Nigeria as part of this Agritourism conversation.
Farm tours are a splendid idea because it teaches the tourists how food is produced. Sure there are TV programs about how food is produced abroad but in Nigeria, farm tours make farming feel more accessible. It gives you the belief that it is something the everyday Nigerian can do and should be involved in, not just for a select few. Beyond the educational value of agritourism, it can be a great opportunity for a family retreat, a sleepover and recreational activities.
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Below are some activities you can do on a farm tour:
- Participate in farm activities like planting a crop, milking a cow, fruit/crop picking, picking eggs from the coup, etc. But this depends on the rules of the Farm. Some farms would rather you just watch like a spectator rather than actively participating.
- Learn about how things are done on the farm, the farm challenges, history and the equipment used on the farm.
- Lodge at any accommodation around the farm and eat the produce from the farm prepared into a local delicacy. It is also the ideal time for a cultural experience as tourists explore techniques indigenous to the region.
- Buy some of the farm produce to support the farm, just the way you would buy a souvenir after a trip.
- Enjoy the view of the farm’s landscape. E.g. the aerial view of the Hot Chili farm in Kaduna, Kereksuk Rice Farm in Nasarawa and the Adapalm plantation in Imo State is phenomenal. So make sure you take a selfie or a full-length picture to capture the environment and savour your time at the farm.
Agritourism is great for both the tourists and the farmers. It helps to put funds back in their pockets during the season where they are waiting for the harvest. The extra income covers the expenses associated with running a farm and can help the agro-economy of the nation. It’s a win-win situation.
Now that you know how to engage in agritourism, when are you fixing a date for the nearest farm in your vicinity?
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