Tag Archives: Agrotourism

Agritourism — we should all visit farms

Agritourism is tourism that involves any agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch. It of course comes from the term ‘agriculture’. This is the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products. (Hayley Stainton).

A further definition of agritourism by the North Carolina Agritourism Activity Liability Law states that it is: Any activity carried out on a farm or ranch that allows members of the general public, for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, to view or enjoy rural activities, including farming, ranching, historic, cultural, harvest-your-own activities, or natural activities and attractions.
It doesn’t necessarily have to include travelling abroad. A simple visit to a petting zoo or local farm definitely counts as agritourism!

Agritourism is a type of tourism that is increasing around the world. With the increasing popularity of niche tourism, coupled with a growth in the desire to make our travels more sustainable, it is no surprise that the agritourism industry has grown significantly in the last few years.

Agritourism is a type of experiential travel. It involves doing something on your trip or holiday, and therefore experiencing the country or destination more so (and more deeply) then if you simply visited on a relaxing holiday. More specifically, agritourism involves doing something that is related in some way to agriculture.

Here are a few examples.
  1. Wine/vineyard tours
  2. Glamping/camping
  3. Quad biking
  4. Horse riding
  5. Fruit/flower picking
  6. Animal farms parks/safari parks
  7. Wwoofing
  8. Staying in a home located on a farm
  9. Farm tours
  10. Educational visits
  11. Relaxation retreats
  12. Hunting trips
  13. Rural weddings/events
  14. Farmer’s markets
  15. Corn Mazes
  16. Bird and wildlife watching
  17. Nature centers

Agritourism comes with economic benefits for travelers and for other tourism stakeholders (farmers, ranch owners and so on). Scholars argue that it is In fact necessary for the survival of some small farms. It diversifies farmers’ income streams, meaning they are able to make money outside of their regular season. When farmers offer agritourism opportunities,  surrounding areas and local communities see an increase in people visiting or passing through. This of course means an economic boost for rural areas and is an example of a positive economic impact of tourism!

Types of Agritourism

There are typically 5 types of agritourism. The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development labelled these as:

Direct-to-consumer sales
This includes farm stands and ‘pick your own’ experiences. A farm stand is, as the name suggests, somewhere you can visit to buy produce directly from a farm. A farmers’ market is similar to this. Farms also often have shops attached to them, selling produce as well as items from local crafters, makers and more. Farms also often have shops attached to them, selling produce as well as items from local crafters, makers and more. A good example is Ope Farms in Abeokuta, they attend Farmers market around Dolphin estate, Lagos Nigeria and they have retail outlets as well.

Farmers Market

Agricultural education
School trips to local farms fall under this category of agritourism. You might also, as an adult, visit a farm and enjoy a guided tour where a farmer or farm assistant explains different aspects of the farming industry to you. This would be a type of agritourism as well as a type of educational tourism, although it is just a small part of agricultural education as a whole. A great example of an operator in this space is Highsoles Farm Tours, operating as Farmtour2016 on Instagram.

Hospitality
In terms of agritourism as proper tourism, e.g. something which involves travelling outside of your hometown for a holiday, this category is where it starts. From family-friendly interactive farms to relaxing adult only retreats complete with hot tubs, there are various different farm stay options across the world.

WWOOF, or the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, facilitate this globally. They connect travelers with farmers, and you can have a really affordable holiday this way. As long as you’re prepared to put the work in, that is! There are farms you can work on in Mexico, Portugal, Serbia, Myanmar and so many more incredible locations. We also have a great example in Abuja Nigeria – Almat Farms positions itself as a leisure and corporate getaway destination that allows you time away from all the bustling noise of the city life to relax, refresh and renew yourself.

Recreation
Hunting, horseback riding, meeting donkeys on the seafront… all of these are recreational types of agritourism. Whether you go on an organised hunt in a rural location or choose to ride a horse across the desert, these are types of agritourism. Hunting doesn’t just mean animals, either; you could go truffle hunting! Horseback riding is also something that is offered worldwide as a fairly standard tourist activity. Amlat Farms in Abuja also offers equestrian services.

Horse riding at Almat Farms Abuja, Nigeria

Entertainment
The final type of agritourism is entertainment. Although the above categories are entertaining in themselves, this is slightly different. The entertainment category includes hay rides, which are popular in the US especially and involve a hay-lined truck or tractor ride. Corn Festivals are also popular globally with 70 years plus of history. In 2020, a tour company named Travel Begins at Home also started the “Naija Corn Festival” as an Agritourism event to celebrate the versatility of Corn, educate Nigerians about Agritourism and increase youth participation in Farming.


Advantages of Agrotourism
Agritourism is a fantastic way for farmers to diversify their income and to make some extra cash. With increasing issues such as droughts or increased competition, farmers are often susceptible to financial loss should they have a bad season. However, agritourism can be a great way to compensate for this!

Disadvantages of Agritourism
Agritourism can have its disadvantages also. Tourists visiting farmland may have negative environmental consequences– trampling the ground or by frightening/displacing local wildlife. The introduction of agritourism can also take the attention away from traditional farm work.

Over dependence on tourism is a bit problem in many parts of the world, and it is important that farm owners do not entirely abandon their traditional methods of making money… because should something happen to discourage tourists from visiting (an illness, political unrest, a natural disaster etc.) then there would be no money coming in for the farmers. And if he has abandoned his primary assignment there will be trouble as crops don’t sprout and mature overnight save for Aaron’s rod.

After all has been said and done, Agritourism has come to stay and the earlier we adopt it mainstream the better for our nation. Then we can maximize the vast land mass we have and put sustainable food security measures in place.

According to Schumacher, “I am now fully convinced that farming and tourism create synergies, where the natural beauty of the region, its cultural richness and vibrant communities can blend with farm activities, especially when a variety of farm products are grown, and the emphasis is on biointensive farming and biodiversity”. (Henry J. Schumacher 2017)

Explore Kwara state

It’s a thing of pride to learn more about your country’s culture and natural wonders!  It’s totally better to be well informed than having foreigners tell you about what you have in your own home country. Nigeria has a handful of captivating spots that lots of us do not know of.

 

Kwara state is a well-visited tourist spot in Nigeria and I bet you didn’t know that! Be rest assured to expect every and anything in this scenic wonderland! There are lots of exciting activities to do and places to visit in Kwara state. Just keep it at the back of your mind, you are in for an adventure of a lifetime.

 

Here is a glimpse at some places to explore in Kwara:

 

(i) Owu Waterfall: This natural delight is one of the most outstanding natural wonders in Kwara state and Nigeria at large. It is the highest waterfall in West Africa at 120m above the water level, cascading 330 feet down an escarpment. Visiting this waterfall and getting to dip in the icy pool at the bottom is an amazing feeling. Health professionals insist waterfalls play a major role in reducing stress levels, depression, and anxiety. So if you are having a moody day or just want to relax and get away from it, Owu waterfall is the place to be!

(ii) Dada pottery: Found in the Dada district of Ilorin, Kwara state. Dada Pottery arguably has the largest cluster of potters in the state. It is a sight to behold, coming in close contact with professional potters and watching art being created first hand. The amount of potters present, their dedication, and professionalism makes watching them and even trying to mold up clay yourself such a delight!

 

(iii) Esie Museum: The oldest and first museum in Nigeria established in 1945, holds many cultural and artistic features that date way back in time. It’s one of the most popular museums in the country and making a stop at the Esie Museum is a great way to adventure and enrich your mind with knowledge at the same time. 

(v) Emirs Palace/Central Mosque: The Ilorin Central mosque is the second largest mosque in Nigeria and it has a capacity of about 20000 worshippers! It is located at the Emir’s palace, Oja Oba. Also, around Oja Oba is the popular Ilorin Gold Souk/market so you can kill 2 birds with one stone.

     

(vi) Unilorin  Zoological Garden: Kwara state has it all and that includes a zoological garden with an incredible zoo for wildlife lovers. 

 

(vii) Aso-oke Weave Centre: The beautiful Aso-oke material handwoven by professionals dates far back to ancient African history and it remains one of the most recognized African fabrics worldwide. This art of cloth weaving began centuries ago among the Yoruba tribe, however predominantly in Kwara state, Oyo state, and Osun state.

When you think of touring Nigeria, do not forget you can get a journey filled with pleasurable moments in Kwara!

 

My Corn Experience

Bukola says if you order food in a restaurant and there is corn-on-the-cob amongst the options, it is going to be an expensive meal. This is true. It’s almost amazing how this saple food can be transformed in a variety of ways to increase its value, and presence in dishes.

For me, corn holds a special meaning. It reminds me of rainy days and evenings spent looking over a vendor’s open cauldron of boiling water choosing the juciest corn in the lot to buy. It reminds me of cozy moments seated in the midst of my siblings munching on boiled corn all the while telling myself not to think of the regret I’ll have when it gets stuck between my teeth. 

Corn to me is warmth, and as its season approaches though I am not home with my family, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with an unexplainable joy. 

The Naija Corn Festival organized by TBAH is another reason the corn season this year holds a special appeal to me. It is more than just corn; it is me sharing the joy I derive from the food with other people, and learning more of its uses.

It’s fascinating how corn as a food is malleable. Growing up, I only ever ate boiled corn with pear (left to become tender in hot water then rubbed over in salt before eating). I couldn’t imagine any other pairing with it. Although my older brother preferred his corn ‘roasted’, we all ate corn with pear. 

During the mandatory year Nigerian youths spend in a programme called NYSC (National Youth Service Corps), I spent my time outside the state I grew up in. There, I encountered people savouring corn with coconut. At first, I couldn’t grasp how such a pairing would taste, but trying it out reminded me why you can eat a meal in one form, and still be amazed by its flavour when it is made differently. That is the beauty of food.

I became curious about other ways and with other pairings corn can be enjoyed. Some popular meals with corn as a core ingredient in Nigeria are:

Akamu/Ogi: The raw form of ogi is made from yellow or white corn. There is no Nigerian household that doesn’t know ogi. In many homes, having ogi as part of your breakfast is a Saturday tradition.

Jollof Rice and Corn: Nigeria is renowned for its smokey jollof rice recipes. An upgraded form of party jollof rice is jollof rice with corn. It is not uncommon to find sweet corn in fried rice amongst other ingredients, but with jollof rice, it unlocks a whole new flavour.

Igbagwu Oka: This is of Igbo origin. It is made with fresh corn, dried corn, spices, vegetable oil, termites then wrapped in Uma leaves and boiled.

Beans and Corn Porridge (Adalu): This delicacy is made by boiling beans and shelled corn mixed with spices and palm oil.

Corn Fufu: This is made with a mix of corn flour and cassava flour, and enjoyed with soup. It is usually made to cater to a large crowd in parties.

What corn foods have you tried out, and which is your favourite?

 

Naija Corn Festival 2020

We planned to host the First naija corn festival on the 4th July 2020 but Covid-19 happened.
In place of that we decided to host a CSR programme bringing corn to our community for free and we urged people to post their corn eating pictures with #naijacornfest on social media to join our e-corn party. Most people did not post the pictures directly, rather they sent them to us to post and till date ,we have some yet to make it to the gram.

Some of the pictures on Instagram tagged #naijacornfest

The 4th of July 2020 dawned as a rainy day yet my spirits refused to be down, I was optimistic and excited as getting to plan the day itself was a leap of faith .Thus the rain was no discouragement, we were ready to take it on plus God blessed us with amazing set of people who stepped out of their comfort zone to be a part of the event. Though we started later than planned we were able to touch locations within Surulere, and Kilo as our final bus- stop.

Amazing crew braving the rain to share Corn

Courtesy of the rain, we could not do as much video as we would have loved to, plus we totally forgot about the instgram live promise due to the downpour. see here with no sound  the short clip on Instagram live which would have been great content for the video but our video recorder battery had shut down by then. Below is the event re-cap.

 

 

We stopped by at some amazing peoples house like Ajala Nene and  Devee Apparels to give them corn and by this time I was soaked to my shoes , I had to beg for tea (black) to get a bit of warmth. Our final stop was Yakoyo eatery on Ogunlana for take – out hot Amala. By the time I got home, I was already sneezing and my nose was blocked. For the next 2 days, I upped my intake of Vit C to 2000gms and by the third day was as fit as a fiddle.

A big shout out to all our friends,family and people who came across the adverts and registered, to those who went out of their way to cook /buy corn that day ,we celebrate you specially. Up till the 14th of July, we were still receiving pictures with people joining from all over Nigeria, the UK and the US.

While preparing for the Corn  Festival, I met a young man who printed on the packaging used for the corn,he supported us by posting about the event and recently also celebrating this hardworking and diligent Corn seller who is his Mother.

We celebrate you hardworking Mother for all that you do.

The Corn conversation is just getting started.

Have a Corntastic day !

 

The Naija Corn Festival

We have a dream, to create new tourism attractions for Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Thus the introduction of our flagship event named “Naija Corn Festival” which we intend to develop and deliver at a global standard to attract visitors from all over the world.

Corn festivals are not new as there are countries all over the world who currently celebrate this with history of the festival spanning over 40 years e.g. South Africa, United states, Canada, Britain and Australia. The United States is the largest producer and exporter of corn, accounting for more than half of world corn exports with production in the 2018 -2019 at an estimate of 366.6 million metric tons. Investopedia 2019. “Corn is sometimes referred to as “yellow gold” because it is used to make so many products and byproducts that end up throughout the economy from, food store shelves to gas pumps to industrial chemical plants” Reuters 

Maize aka Corn is the most important staple cereal crop in sub- Saharan Africa. It contains approximately 72% starch, 10% protein and 4% fat, supplying an energy density of 365Kcal/100g and is grown throughout the world (Ranum et.al 2014). Corn is rich in fibre and plant compounds that aid digestive systems and eye health. It is high in carbs but when eaten in moderation and cooked with methods to enhance the nutritional value, it can be part of a healthy diet. According to IITA – “Maize, Zea mays L. (corn), is the most abundantly produced cereal in the world. All parts of the crop can be used for food and non-food products.

How much corn did Nigeria produce in 2019 ? How much of this corn was utilized or wasted because we could not preserve nor process them into finished products to reach consumers timely. Currently the scarcity of corn for local farmers in poultry business is making the news.

The largest African producer is Nigeria with over 33 million tons, followed by South Africa, Egypt, and Ethiopia. Africa imports 28% of its required maize grain from countries outside the continent as most of the maize production in Africa is done under rain-fed conditions. About 50 species exist and consist of different colors, textures, and grain shapes and sizes. White maize fetches premium prices in Southern Africa where it represents the main staple food, whereas yellow maize is preferred as animal feed in most parts of South America and the Caribbean. Yours sincerely prefers yellow corn especially when it comes to making Pap aka akamu/ogi.

The desire to host a Naija Corn Festival came while reminiscing about the traditional yam eating festival in my village. I really do not remember nor recollect the details of the ceremony but remember vividly my Mum hammering on us not to eat the new yam until the festival in the village is done. Over time the tradition has worn off as being a Christian today this could be tantamount to idolatry.However, I miss the thrill, revelry and jamboree of having so many yam delicacies to eat all in one day.

There may be a counter argument as an organization focused on tourism which is in sync with preserving our cultures and tradition. But the truth remains that if we do not engage our youth and populace who are mostly not interested in the yam festival happening in the village, other world festivals and carnivals will have them travelling abroad to attend.

What started as reminiscing is actually  deeper when scratched, as a company we position ourselves as a hub for “education and rejuvenation “and this is what the event will achieve.

The Naija Corn Festival will be an opportunity to showcase our indigenous foods made with corn. We will also  highlight and have sessions on how to develop the available growth areas in food processing, how to create value,new products and business opportunities. . Also based on the need and awareness for healthy eating today, it is essential to enrich maize based meals thus we will bring nutritional experts to educate on how to avoid mal -nutrition and vitamin deficiency diseases.

Why Corn ?

Because Corn is everywhere and keeping it out of your shopping basket is a challenge.
Next time check the label of canned goods you want to buy and see how corn has sneaked in everywhere.
Derivatives of corn get used as a food filler, texturizer, emulsifier, sweetener, preservative, adhesive and many other applications.