May 15, 2019
Photos from the recent inauguration of the Okinawa House courtesy of the City Government of Victorias
A local government in Negros Occidental is mixing agriculture and ecotourism to attract more tourists and promote sustainable development.
Victorias City, known for its natural parks, limestone caves, beaches, and other ecotourism sites, recently built a tourism facility called Okinawa House, meant to deepen mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and the Philippines. This is the only place in the Philippines where one can enjoy Okinawa culture.
The city also received technical assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), together with the local government of Nanjo City in Okinawa, Japan, under the Technical Cooperation for Grassroots Project "Strengthening Regional Vitalization for Sustainable Development" to boost organic farming and sustainable livelihood in the area.
"JICA continues to engage its citizens, non-government organizations, and local governments to support development. Through the TCGP, we are pleased to share Japan's best practices and knowhow in areas like ecotourism to help create jobs and improve living standards," said JICA Philippines Senior Representative Ayumu Ohshima.
Nearly 11,000 workers in agriculture and tourism industries in Victorias will benefit from the project.
Victorias bears resemblance to Japan's Nanjo City in terms of available ecotourism parks, limestone caves, and other beaches. Under the TCGP, the local government of Japan's Nanjo City in Okinawa shared their agri-ecotourism model and helped the city implement ecotourism activities, such as birdwatching and farm stay experience.
The project also aligns with the Philippine National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) that aims to promote environment and climate change adaptation in its tourism strategies.
Aside from ecotourism, about 500 farmers in Victorias City also trained in organic farming under the project. They have organized a composting facility and even offer organic vegetables to farm stay visitors.
In the Philippines, JICA is currently implementing 13 TCGP projects to support not just tourism, but also agriculture, community development, disaster management, social welfare, and participatory development.