TODAY -

Agri-Tourism: A novel approach to rural economic development in Manipur

Dr Laishram Kanta Singh *



Agri-tourism has a significant impact on rural revitalization. Its position and market strength have an impact on a variety of external components and mechanisms. And. while it has a clear positive impact on the economic and social development of rural communities, it also highlights a number of related barriers.

A key part is raising local community understanding about the benefits of developing this non-agricultural source of income. Only then can a multiplier effect occur, resulting in reduced unemployment, job creation in tourism-related industries, revenue growth, and an improvement in the living standards and working conditions of the population actively involved.

Improving the visibility

of rural values, processing, traditional crafts, and rural structures can become a major magnet for travellers seeking new and unusual types of enjoyment. The benefits of rural tourist development can become a reality if there is visible involvement and- tight coordination between service providers and local authorities.

Agri-tourism is an important component of rural transformation and sustainable development. As agricultural production profitability declines and rural residents' living standards deteriorate, these activities - as reported in many countries, conducted observations of the economic activity of farming families in the field of tourism - are primarily a result of seeking additional or alternative incomes in many areas related to agriculture.

Market economy has posed problems for rural residents by significantly reducing the possibility of disposing of agricultural production at low and unstable prices, rising production costs, relatively high unemploy-ment, reducing rural youth's chances of advancement in life, and lowering living standards.

Non-agricultural activities on farms occur in all countries, even the richest, where income per capita is considerably higher than in India, production costs and food prices are lower than ours, wealthy villages, and highly efficient agriculture.

There are numerous benefits that rural tourism brings to family farms and rural areas, such as efficient use of smaller agricultural areas within the household, growing better and healthier food, and providing tourists with unique experiences related to local gastronomy, traditions, and cultural heritage, as well as involvement in agricultural production and an active relationship with nature.

Tourists, or as many caterers prefer to call them guests or visitors, are growing more demanding, well' informed, and unpredictable, and they are looking for more than just food.

The majority of rural Manipur is involved in agricultural work. Agriculture is more than just a business; it is the "True Culture of Manipur." However, it is now unproductive because to the unpredictable monsoon, price changes in agricultural products, and other factors such as unawareness of technology, etc.. As a result, agriculture is dying, not as a means of producing food, but as a desired vocation.

This circumstance forces people to relocate to surrounding urban areas in pursuit of a higher wage and a better way of life. As a result, metropolitan areas are becoming increasingly overburdened.

To avert this instability, the Manipur's rural areas must be revitalised through tourism promotion where villagers have an acceptable number of alternative career opportunities, they are less likely to leave their own villages, and the socioeconomic status of rural Manipur improves.

According to the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), tourism is the world's largest service business and the fastest expanding industry in terms of revenue production and it also ensures the development of infrastructure at the destination.

There are few other fields of endeavour in which so many people are actively or indirectly involved. Tourism has also become a tool for long-term human development, including job creation, poverty alleviation, foreign exchange, environmental enhancement, and the preservation of culture and tradition, so helping overall development.

Tourism can provide immediate aid to places with a high unemployment rate. Tourism is characterised as travel for cultural, historical, religious, educational, recreational, leisure, or business interests.

The modem visitor is not satisfied with cultural or religious travel alone. People seek thrills, joy, adventure, and something out of the ordinary.

Tourist interests have changed as the times have changed, necessitating the development of newer and more diverse forms of tourism.

As a result, new tourism sectors have evolved, such as agricultural tourism. Because agriculture is Manipur's main occupation, developing agri-tourism in Manipur has a broad scope and enormous assure. Agri-tourism has assisted farmers in gaining sustainable supplemental income.

Manipur has a lot of potential for agricultural tourism development. Agricultural tourism is a type of long-term revenue-generating activity that assures money flows from urban to rural economies while also preventing migration from rural villages to urban centres in pursuit of better opportunities. Such tourism encourages rural communities to stay on their own land by providing alternative sources of income.

It is a key instrument for rural development. Poverty alleviation, job creation, environmental regeneration, remote region basic infrastructure development, advancement and empowerment of rural communities, particularly women and youths, are just a few of the many good effects of agri-tourism.

Nature and natural resource conservation, active community participation, strategic planning, and marketing tactics are also critical for the growth of agri-tourism in Manipur. Extension and advising services could play a significant role in boosting agri-tourism.

With the support of agri-tourism, entire rural communities will be rejuvenated and a bright future will be created for all residents for rural economic develoment, peace and harmony in Manipur.


* Dr Laishram Kanta Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is with ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Manipur Centre
This article was webcasted on 17 May 2023

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