April 11, 2022. As producing-your-own-vegetables in your own backyard has become a trend since the COVID-19 pandemic, the BAFS technical bulletin reminds urban gardeners of food safety practices that need to be observed.
In 2020, the urban population accounted for over 47 percent of the entire population. At present, the number of people living in urban areas worldwide is over three billion, or 55% of the world population, and it is projected that 68% of the world's population will be living in urban areas by 2050 (United Nations, 2018). In the Philippines, urbanized areas were mostly found in Metro Manila, located in the National Capital Region (NCR).
With urbanization on the rise, one solution to this challenge is the development and expansion of urban agriculture, a growing sector within the farming industry. In response, various government agencies such as the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched programs on Urban Gardening or Urban Agriculture. These programs carry the aim to increase overall food production in urban and peri-urban areas like in Metro Manila. It also intends to encourage city dwellers to follow recommended production practices and the judicious use of appropriate inputs.
The TB aims to remind that contamination can easily come from the soil, contaminated water, and poor or improper handling of produce during harvest. Foodborne disease is a health risk, and urban gardeners have that implied responsibility to ensure that the food they produce is safe to eat.