If we talk about agriculture, then most of the Indian farmers are not self-sustaining, they can hardly make their ends meet financially without relying on the income coming from other off the farm activities.
But nowadays, a new trend- FARM-STAY has been observed in many places in India. Though this practice is being followed from a long time in foreign countries, in India, farmers are still unaware of this trend.
So, what is the meaning of FARM-STAY?
FARM-STAY is offering accommodation to paying guest for few days so that they can come here and enjoy the farm life in its original splendour and glory, and at the same time contribute towards agriculture.
In many parts of India, some farmers are eking money out of their land in a different way other than crop plantation and raising livestock. Some of them have opened on-road-farm-market, on-road-farm-restaurant, bed-and-breakfasts…., all these are often known as farm stays.
In short, we can say that these entire above mentioned ventures is a part of agri tourism.
Yes, you heard it right- AGRI-TOURISM.
Your farm is not just a piece of land where you raise crops and rear livestock, farm stay like activities can become an important economic boost in the regular life of farmers.
So, what farmers have to do, to begin with, this farm stay venture?
Nothing much! Farmers just have to make their farm more like a farm, give it a perfect rural theme, add some amenities for the guests, and give their routine activity an interesting touch, like trail ride service, vegetable picking, milking cows, collecting eggs, feeding animals, orchard visit, picking fruits and much more.
Farm-stay can be remodelled as a small farmhouse with a private wing, small barn area, poultry area where the guests feel free to live and explore the village life. Other above-mentioned activities can be done with the farm owners. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and refreshment should be included in the stay so that the guest can taste the real flavour of organic traditional village food and enjoy the rural culture.
One more thing that the farm owner has to do is to brag about his farm by getting his farm registered on different sites which serves hospitality services.
How farm stay venture help farmers?
The whole purpose of the land is to get the farm in a productive state, so that it pays the expenses of the farmers. The money that farmer will get from the farm visitors will be enough to pay for the animals feed or compost, which is one of the farm’s important expense.
The farm stay is an experience which is meant for those people who are exhausted from their hectic city life and want to explore, enjoy and learn from the slow-paced farm life with their discerning eye.
Some more activities that farmer can add to make farm stay more exciting are:
• Horse Riding:
Horse riding is the unique experience which city people generally look for a change. A small trail horse ride with an instructor is the best thing to do during a farm-stay.
• Petting Zoo:
Petting zoo is an activity that entire family can enjoy. Keeping different species of domesticated animals and some wild animals too, can give exceptional extra income to the farm owner.
• Cultural programmes and events:
The cultural and traditional experience like dance, games, martial art is a fantastic way to expose the village culture to the guests.
• Tractor ride:
Tractor ride in green lush fields is an activity that most of the people only see in movies and this is an experience that people crave for. This activity is a must add on!
• Bullock cart ride:
Bullock cart ride is an experience to enjoy the nature for urban dwellers. And for this activity farm owner just need a pair of bulls.
• Morning farm walk:
Farms are always very beautiful in the morning and the view that can be observed in the morning cannot be observed at any hour of time throughout the day.
• Bird watching:
Most of the farm areas are rich in bird species and during orchard visit you can view many birds. This experience can make anyone ditch the luxuries of five star hotels.
Fishing is a complete leisure activity that can be enjoyed while sitting in the sun alongside the pond. Best time for fishing would be pre and post summer.
• Food processing:
Food processing is an amazing thing to see raw food get changed into a processed form. Example- how honey is extracted and packed, how jaggery is made… etc.
• Orchard Visit :
Yes, it may be a lot of hard work for the farmers to set up a perfect farm stay but the final income will be worth it.