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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Being shown samples of composted, granulated faecal sludge strongly influences acceptability of its use in peri-urban subsistence agriculture
Author(s): Roxburgh, Heather
Hampshire, Kate
Tilley, Elizabeth A
Oliver, David M
Quilliam, Richard S
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Keywords: Human excreta derived fertiliser
Subsistence farming
Circular economy
Integrated nutrient management
Issue Date: Sep-2020
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.
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.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.rcrx.2020.100041
Rights: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
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