I remember movie Field of Dreams in which Kevin Costner’s character ploughs under part of his cornfield to build a baseball field. A voice tells him ‘If you build it they will come.’

While his neighbours think he is crazy to plough underpart of his cornfield, the movie ends with headlights streaming down the road for miles as people head for his ballfield in the middle of an Iowa cornfield.

Agritourism, a partnership between two largest industries – agriculture and tourism – is taking off worldwide. An agritourism business can provide a supplemental, off-season income, or it can grow into a year-round primary business to farmers. Entrepreneurship is at the very heart of the farm economy.

However, as with any new business it takes a lot of planning with careful assessment of your skills and resources. This is real life, not a movie, and people will not magically show up at your farm.

If you build it they won’t come unless you work really, really hard to market your agritourism business. The key to success is forming partnerships and marketing.

There are lots of signs for the growth of agritourism in Pakistan. People are looking for fresh produce straight from the farm. As terrorism is the biggest threat to tourism, tourists are also looking for entertainment close to home and ways to reconnect with their families. They are also looking for outdoor activities.

Finally, urban families are so removed from farm life they are looking for the farm experience, one they probably remember from back in the roots of their family tree.

For the motivation towards this side business, there must be some teams or organisations, organised by the government to create awareness among people or to guide them in decision making. Those teams must guide them about the positive or negative aspects as well as about the real proficiency in agritourism because motivation mainly plays an important role in proficiency.

Saad ur Rehman Malik
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2019

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