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Closing the loop between sanitation and agriculture in Accra, Ghana
Improving yields in urban agriculture by using urine as a fertilizer and drivers & barriers for scaling up
Accra like most cities in the developing world is experiencing rapid population growth and urbanization. This rapid urbanization has brought about urban poverty, food insecurity and severe environmental degradation. Urban agriculture is now a predominate feature within the urban ecological system but it is confronted with many challenges key amongst them is the high cost of mineral fertilizers which has led to the search for alternative fertilizers. Meanwhile the majority of the city's populace uses the public toilet as their main means of sanitation making these places a potential source of nutrients production for urban agriculture in Accra in the form of human excreta and urine. The value of human urine as nutrient is well known amongst some of the farmers and its application has been advocated on many platforms on sustainable sanitation worldwide but its implementation on a wide scale virtually remains unknown. This thesis project was therefore aimed at addressing this problem by analysing whether there is a market and market acceptance for urine as a fertilizer and investigating how a demonstration for this approach could be up scaled. The thesis was therefore divided into two parts. The first part was a technical study and was aimed at finding out if the financial benefits of the system achieved by the increase in crop yield by urine fertilization will be able to finance the cost of operating the system. Whilst the second part which was a social study was aimed at addressing how the technology could be up scaled from a demonstration phase to a larger scale using the theories of transitional management. During the technical study, the research tools that were used included the review of literature and field visits from where the infrastructure was designed and estimates prepared. This led to the health and economic implications of urine usage. Similarly in the social study, literature was also reviewed and the existing policies with regard to the usage of municipal waste was also analysed. In addition to this a stakeholder analysis was also conducted to determine those who really matter in urban agriculture. Structured and unstructured interviews were conducted with these stakeholders to determine their perception about urine usage and application in urban agriculture.