Socio-economic development through agro tourism

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					     Socio-Economic Development of Rural Area of Konkan Region of
                Maharashtra State through Agrotourism.
                   Paresh V. Joshi, Milind Bhujbal and Satyawan Pable
                 Assistant/Associate Professors of Agricultural Economics
                            College of ABM, Narayangaon, Pune

To preserve the natural heritage of Konkan           In the last 25 years of the 20th century the
region and to develop the socio-economic             term Agritourism appeared in international
status, strategic scientific planning of agro        literature. There exists a parallel word
tourism as a form of rural tourism is a need
of hour. Therefore the focus should be on            Agrotourism. The two terms have the same
infrastructure    development       schemes          meaning and both consist of two parts agri
coupled with anti-poverty fund schemes for           or agro and tourism. The prefix agri derives
increasing income and employment                     from the Latin term ager which means field
opportunities.                                       while agro comes from the Greek term
                                                     agros, which means soil, while tourism is a
Introduction:                                        form of active recreation away from one’s
There are various terms used to describe             place of residence and inspired by
tourism in rural areas including Farm                cognitive, recreational and sports needs.
Tourism, Agro Tourism, Soft Tourism and
Eco Tourism (Beeton-2006)                            The combination of agri and tourism
                                                     resulted in the formation of a new word that
According to the Organization of Economic            means human tourism which aims to
Co-operation and Development (OECD),                 become familiar with farming activities and
rural tourism is defined as tourism taking           recreation in an agricultural environment.
place in the countryside (Riechel et al,
2000). Rural tourism is located in                   Agro tourism can be defined as a “range of
agricultural      landscapes       and   is          activities, services and amenities provided
characterized by enjoyment of a tamed                by farmers and rural people to attract
nature or highly modified landscapes. It is          tourists to their area in order to generate
about the land uses and human cultures               extra income for their business”.
that the interaction between humans and
the land have created. It sees agriculture           “Agro tourism is that agri-business activity,
and farms as the foundation upon which               when a native farmers or persons of the
the attraction is built (Knowd, 2001).               area offer tours of their agriculture farms to
                                                     allow a person to view them growing,
Any form of tourism that showcases rural             harvesting and processing locally grown
life, art, culture and heritage at rural             foods, such as coconuts, pineapple, sugar
locations, there by benefiting the local             cane, corn or any agriculture produce the
community economically and socially as               person would not encounter in their city or
well as enabling interaction between the             home country. Often the farmers would
tourist and the locals for a more enriching          provide a home stay opportunity and
tourism experience is termed rural tourism.          education”.(Taware 2008).

Rural tourism comprises a number of                  Agro tourism is a specific form of rural
drivers that help to create a demand.                tourism with the following features:
These demand drivers working either alone                • close relation to nature and the
or in conjunction with others help to satisfy                country side
the needs of the visitor. Rural tourism is the           • direct relationship to agricultural
alternative to mass tourism.                                 activities.
                                                         • main features that differentiate
Agrotourism as an instrument for socio-                      Agrotourism from conventional
economic development:                                        tourism.

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Studies (IJRS)
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    •     possibility of satisfying human             These consist of additional sources of
          needs with practical participation in       income,       income        for    communes,
          the process of food production in           overcoming economic recession and
          the life of a rural family and in a         promotion of socio economic development
          rural community.                            with the stimulation of development of
Agro tourism gives people a chance to                 agricultural, horticultural or animal breeding
learn about the lives of rural people, their          farms, generation of additional sources of
culture and customs and satisfy emotional             income both for rural households and for
needs such as having direct contact with              local or regional governments and
domestic animals, plants, animal products             communes.
and processed products and experience                 3) Spatial and Environment:
the idyllic countryside.                              Agro tourism is the development and
                                                      transformation of elements of the natural
A key factor in the growing interest of city          environment. Spatial and environmental
inhabitants is where food comes from and              functions include the consequences of
how it is produced.                                   Agrotourism      for     the    natural   and
                                                      anthropogenic environments.
Two things to be noted are:
    • Agro tourism benefits the entire                It gives tremendous economic impetus to a
        rural community in terms of total             region in the form of creating employment
        revenue generation.                           avenues and increasing the standard of
    • Rural culture is the key component              living of the under developed host
        under agro tourism.                           community and it conserves the traditional
The emergence of agro tourism is helping              cultural values with subtenants’ exposure
to boost a wide range of activities, services         to the world community. At the same time,
and amenities to attract tourists to generate         it provides security and advancement to the
extra income by creating entrepreneurial              region.
                                                      Tourism potential in Maharashtra:
Agro tourism is run essentially as a                  Maharashtra is the third largest state of
community-based initiative. It is beneficial          India, both in area and population. It is
for income and employment generation and              located on the West coast with a 720 km
development of rural arts and crafts. It is           long coastline. The lush green Konkan
directly     helpful      for   infrastructure        region, with its dense forests, is home to
development and preservation of heritage.             several wild life sanctuaries and nature
The feasibility of enhancing agro tourism in          parks. Maharashtra abounds in numerous
our country can be determined by the                  tourist attractions ranging from ancient
following major considerations:                       cave, temples, unspoiled beaches, ancient
     • Potential of the rural section for             forts and monuments, forest and wild life
         attracting inbound and outbound              unique hill stations and pilgrimage centres
         tourists.                                    to a rich tradition of festivals, art and
     • The level of tourism and general               culture. The tourism market is estimated to
         infrastructural development.                 be around 250 million domestic tourists in
                                                      2005 (Source: ATDC – Pune).
Functions of Agrotourism:
1) Socio psychological functions:                     Potential for Development of Agro-
These include gaining new skills, meeting             Tourism in Konkan Region:
new people, reviving rural traditions and             Surrounded by the Sahyadri hills on the
education. They are connected with                    east and the Arabian Sea on the west, the
increased respect for the rural community,            coastal strip of Maharashtra is known as
the intermingling of rural and urban cultures         the Konkan Region. Historically Konkan
and the opportunity to enjoy contact with             has been land with dense forest cover and
the traditional lifestyle of the rural                a landscape fringed with beautiful beaches,
community.                                            picturesque hamlets, paddy fields, coconut
2) Economic functions:                                grooves and mango orchards.

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The region has tremendous potential with             for external employment, the central point
a variety of cultural aspects and production         is that the community benefits greatly from
systems sufficient to attract tourists. It has       effective    planning,  promotion       and
seen substantial growth in tourism in the            marketing.
past few years, but this growth is clustered
and unorganized.                                     This model can be effectively implemented
                                                     in rural areas of Konkan region through the
Agro tourism development in Konkan                   Agro tourism concept, but Agro tourism in
region can be successful only when the               this region is in its infancy. There is an
development progress is linked with local            urgent need to initiate the process of
communities who provide physical assets              incubating entrepreneurship for the overall
as tourism products. This is essential for           development of the region.
two reasons. The concerned rural stake
holders must be benefited socially and                In the present context, rural communities
commercially from their own assets. The              cannot be expected to perform the task of
rural community must participate actively            promoting agro-tourism exclusively. The
in order to maintain eco-biodiversity and            role of Maharashtra Tourism Development
traditional values.                                  Conversation (MTDC). Agro Tourism
Rural tourism has many potential benefits            Development Corporation (ATDC) and
for rural areas (Federick, 1992). It can be          other national level organizations like
an important source of jobs for local                Indian Tourism Development Corporation
communities and for developing a                     (TTDC) is important for providing the right
disadvantaged rural area. Tourism can                direction in the near future.
certainly be an important component of a
sound development plan.                              In accordance with the Beeton model of
                                                     community development through             rural
Bontron and Lasnier (1997) note that the             tourism,        Dr. Anjan Bhuyan from
impact of rural tourism varies greatly               Meghalaya has prepared a model as an
among rural regions and depends on a                 initial attempt to suggest a strategy for rural
host of factors including work force                 development in India. This model is the
characteristics and seasonality issues.              Rural Tourism Business Incubator (RTBI).
                                                     It is a process of developing, nurturing and
According to Beeton’s (2006) model of rural          promoting rural tourism by the rural
tourism. the community is central to this            community for the greater interest of the
process and in many ways cannot be                   nation as a whole
separated from any element. Rural areas
often      have various      problems     like       The RTBI works at grass root level for
unemployment, lack of services, lack of              tourism planning and promotion. It is a
facilities and lack of awareness at the same         nodal agency devoted to the systematic
time as various potential attributes like            process     of    enhancing     tourism
natural environment, agriculture and                 development. The details are presented
ambience. According to this model, it is             below:
clear that besides agriculture and migration

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Studies (IJRS)
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Technical Assistant               Physical Assistant                 Financial Assistant

Educational Institutions          Community                          Financial Institutions
Universities                      NGOs                               Government subsidy
Technical Institutions            Government                         External Help

                                Small and medium-sized tourism
                           Enterprises (SMTES) in selected categories

                                           Stable business
                                       Increased employment
                                    Increased household income
                                 Increased conservation incentives
                                     Increased tourism products
                                     Increased visitors to region

Application of the RTBI model:                          precious resources like time and money
The Konkan region has the potential to                  through cost sharing and capital conserving
develop agro tourism but to achieve overall             access to space services. This can be
socio-economic         development,       the           done by flexible and timely ways developed
implementation of the above model is                    as per the requirements of entrepreneurs’
necessary. According to the RTBI model it               needs such as helping entrepreneurs to
is most important to educate or raise the               overcome barriers like lack of information,
awareness of rural people about the hidden              and lack of access to capital etc and giving
potential of the region for agro tourism.               them ready access to learning resources
                                                        on design and management of various
As the Konkan region has key attractions                tourism related activities
such as scenery, mountains, rivers,
beaches, cropping patterns and a pollution-             There is an immediate need to develop
free, natural and peaceful environment, it is           public private partnership programmes for
very attractive to the urban population.                the active participation of people. Financial
Knowledge of developing all these assets                institutions, especially nationalized banks,
must be circulated among the rural people.              play a major role by supplying much
                                                        needed       capital    to     tourism-based
Only awareness of tourism is not a key                  entrepreneurs at special concessional
factor of success. The role of supporting               rates.
and financial organizations is also
important for the process of "Business                  Uncontrolled conventional tourism may
Incubation" to start. It includes property              pose potential threats to many natural
development / management as well as                     areas in the Konkan coastal region. If the
small business development which can be                 above strategy is followed, then the agro
done by conserving entrepreneurs’ most

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Studies (IJRS)
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tourism industry can be developed in the             Pandurang Taware, Director – Marketing
Konkan region.                                       A.T.D.C., Pune, Agri – Tourism: Innovative
                                                     Supplementary Income Generating Activity
So the scientific and strategic development          For Enterprising Farmers.
of agro tourism will lead to development in          Reichel, A., Lowengart, O., & Milman, A.
the socio-economic status of the Konkan              (2000). Rural tourism in Israel: service
region.                                              quality    and     orientation.   Tourism
                                                     Management, 21, 451-459.
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Anjan Bhuyan (2004). Rural Tourism a new             Verma, S. K. (2008). Cooperatives and
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Beeton,       S.     (2006).    Community
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Bontron, J., & Lasnier, N. (1997).
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Studies (IJRS)
ISSN 1023–2001                   Article 3 Page - 5 - of 5

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