Being shown samples of composted, granulated faecal sludge strongly influences acceptability of its use in peri-urban subsistence agriculture

Heather Roxburgh, Kate Hampshire, Elizabeth A Tilley, David M Oliver, Richard S Quilliam
2020 Resources, Conservation & Recycling: X  
A B S T R A C T Using human excreta derived fertiliser (HEDF) in agriculture reduces dependence on diminishing phosphorus rock reserves, improves soil health, and facilitates sustainable nutrient recycling. Such schemes have particular scope for expansion in peri-urban areas of low-income countries, where large quantities of faecal sludge from onsite sanitation systems are available. However, public acceptability is a critical unknown factor. This study used surveys of 534 peri-urban
more » ... ri-urban subsistence farmers in Blantyre, Malawi, to investigate the public acceptability of HEDF. Two factors are highlighted as having a particularly strong association with acceptability: showing a sample of composted, granulated faecal sludge to participants at the start of the survey, and having heard of HEDF before. For instance, almost all participants who were shown the composted, granulated sample and had prior knowledge of HEDF were willing to buy maize grown in HEDF (96%). Conversely, less than a third of participants who had not heard of HEDF before and were not shown the composted, granulated sample were willing to do so (30%). Maize was the most widely accepted crop for use with HEDF, as there is perceived to be little contact between the edible parts and the ground. This suggests that HEDF has the potential to be widely accepted by subsistence maize farmers and the general public in Malawi. However, uptake rates could be substantially improved with public engagement campaigns involving demonstrations or samples of a visually appealing product, and by promoting the concept through channels such as farmer radio programmes or agricultural extension workers.
doi:10.1016/j.rcrx.2020.100041 fatcat:tv7h22cd25chvc2s5o7ilb5vhe