Article

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

Citation

Roxburgh H, Hampshire K, Tilley EA, Oliver DM & Quilliam RS (2020) Being shown samples of composted, granulated faecal sludge strongly influences acceptability of its use in peri-urban subsistence agriculture. Resources, Conservation and Recycling: X, 7, Art. No.: 100041. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rcrx.2020.100041

Abstract
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 on-site sanitation systems are available. However, public acceptability is a critical unknown factor. This study used surveys of 534 peri-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.

Keywords
Human excreta derived fertiliser; Subsistence farming; Circular economy; Sanitation; Integrated nutrient management

Journal
Resources, Conservation and Recycling: X: Volume 7

StatusPublished
FundersNatural Environment Research Council and The University of Malawi
Publication date30/09/2020
Publication date online31/07/2020
Date accepted by journal13/07/2020
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/31563
PublisherElsevier BV
ISSN2590-289X

Research programmes