Within the scope of an EU financed project called „Utilisation of composted waste from urban households in the peri-urban agriculture for plant protection purpose in West Africa” which took place in Togo, Senegal and the Republic of Guinea from 1999 to 2002, the data which are the basis of this study have been collected. The sites have been Rufisque in Senegal, Conakry and Timbi Madîna in the Republic of Guinea the same as Lomé and Tsévié in Togo.

The objective of this study are to analyse the cultural, social and economic factors which influence the willingness of urban households to collect organic waste and the willingness of peri-urban farmers to apply compost for phytosanitary purpose to facilitate the introduction of compost for plant protection.

Therefore standardised interviews of 1551 households and 1721 farmers have been done in the 5 sites. The open questions have been analysed qualitatively and quantitatively. About 10 % of the answers have been standardised and analysed by logistic regression model with the 1st level of interactions. Stakeholders and project collaborators have been interviewed in semi structured and informal interviews. Anyway observations of households, the compost stations and of farmer have been done during a few years. The accountability of the waste collection managed by the project was investigated in Lomé for years.

These towns are mainly settled by Wolofs, Fulanis, Sussus and Ewes or rather Minas. The size of the towns varies from 4 000 to 1.4 mill. inhabitants. Due to different climate, different consume habits and different towns sizes, different farming systems appear which are located next to each other in each town. Production systems of urban vegetable farmers as well as peri-urban and urban rain fed farmers have been investigated. As the five sites are in three countries the extension service system differ as well as the degree of organisation at the farmers’ level. The low level of homogeneity of the different populations causes the high number of interviews. This was the only way to compare the willingness of households and farmers in so different situations.

The household model investigated whether and how the independent variables like an institutionalised waste collection, the number of adults and children’s of the household, the household income, the profession of the house wife and the chief of the household, the religion and the tribe of the chief and so on influence dependent variable like willingness to waste separation and the valorisation of waste in the household.

The independent variables of the farmer’s models concern four themes. For the farmer the level of training, gender and the tribe have been taken into account. For the production system the use of fertiliser, the kind of labour, the side activity and whether he produces vegetables or stable food have been considered. The social network has been broken down to contact to the extension service, intensity of contact to the network of farming knowledge and membership in a farmers’ organisation. The sites have been characterised by their size and the main tribe.

The knowledge of compost production, the compost production and the use of compost are the dependent variable in the model of facts. These variables become independent variables in the model of opinions about compost. These opinions are the willingness of buying compost, whether compost can be used against plant diseases and the willingness to use compost out of household waste.


The results of the models are confronted to the qualitative results from the interviews, observations and case studies done in the project.

We got the following results. Wilde waste heaps disturbs the inhabitants of the urban quarters. The households are ready to participate financially to waste collection. The waste management of a household depends on the size and the composition of the household, the jobs of the inhabitants, the culture and the location. There are no traditional obstacles against collection of organic waste. The models show that independent variables like practice of animal breeding and/or agriculture in the household, a side activity of the house wife like working in the agriculture or as a labourer, the existence of waste problems which is expressed also by wild waste heaps and the absence of a waste collection organisation, and a Christian or Muslim household chief influence positively the willingness of households to collect organic waste and to separate it from other waste. From the qualitative questions we know that household are ready to separate waste if they get additional and to climate and quantity adapted dustbins as well as explications how and why waste separation. Separated waste has to be collected separately. Due to the climate organic waste has to be collected at least every 2 days. Household separating waste would like to profit from waste separation. This is easily done by reducing waste collection fees for well separated waste. Households who are not willing to separate waste argue that they don’t have the time, that waste separation is unhygienic or that they need the organic waste for feeding animals or producing compost. The descript project tested waste separation successfully in different quarters.

Traditional and modern authorities at quarter, community and town level are in charge of the waste management. The introduction of a waste collection organisation has to be coordinated with them. The most adapted place for a compost station is a small town (more then 25 000 inhabitants). In small towns the percentage of organic waste is generally higher. The station should be close to the centre with most of the waste problems and close to the vegetable farms. Collecting waste is profitable. A clear accountability for the waste collection fees which prevents conflicts is essential for the sustainability of a waste collection organisation. The compost stations of the project confirmed that compost for soil amelioration is not competitive to manure from urban livestock. Producing compost is very labour intensive and profitable only if compost is sold by pesticide prices for plant protection. If for any reason there is an overproduction of phytosanitary compost it’s useful to sell this compost for soil amelioration if this compost can be produced in a cheaper way.

Generally there are no cultural obstacles which hinder the application of compost made by household waste. This technique is well known in West Africa. The innovation is the use of compost for plant protection against soil born diseases of lettuce, tomato and potato. Only vegetable farmers are aware of disease pressure and use pesticides. Some of them are able to distinguish diseases. Side jobs, high fertiliser costs, hired labour and strong farmers’ organisation influence positively the willingness of farmers to buy phytosanitary compost out of household waste. In the models the level of training influences only the knowledge of compost production. The intensity of contact to the farming knowledge network and the production system influence the fact models. The high influence of the intensity of contact to the network and the membership in a farmers’ organisation shows the importance of social networks for dissemination of compost. However the extension service is from very low importance for the compost. Dealer, other farmers and farmers’ organisation are very important for knowledge of plant protection. The gender influences only the production model of compost.


Farmers who are not willing to buy compost argue mainly that they don’t have money, that they don’t know compost, that they produce their own compost or that they don’t need compost (as their fields are fertile).

As the phytosanitary effects of compost are unknown a compost station needs a very efficient marketing like trials next to the compost station, contacts to the farmers’ organisation, the extension service and the research institutions as well as instruction hand outs which are adapted to the level of training of the vegetable farmers.

For further compost projects in urban agriculture for plant protection we can conclude that farmers’ organisation and pesticide dealer are important knowledge stakeholders who had to be included to research as well as the farmers. The knowledge of the cultural concept of compost, pests and diseases and the knowledge of the farming systems are as important as the economic and institutional aspects for compost stations.

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