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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Farmer attitudes and perceptions to the re-use of fertiliser products from resource-oriented sanitation systems - The case of Vellore, South India

Simha, Prithvi; Lalander, Cecilia; Vinneras, Bjorn; Ganesapillai, M.


Relatively little research has been conducted to date on farmer attitudes towards the use of fertilisers from resource oriented sanitation systems. This study employed a psycho-sociological approach to identify factors that encourage, or discourage, negative and positive attitudes to human waste recycling among farmers in southern India. A survey involving face-to-face interviews was performed with 120 randomly sampled farmers, taking into account the following factors: gender, age, religion, caste, type of farming, farm size, annual income and farming history. Variations in variables (x(2) and ANOVA) were considered statistically significant if p-value was <0.05. When asked whether they thought human wastes could be used as fertiliser, of the farmers who expressed an opinion 59% were positive to re-use of urine and 46% to re-use of human faeces. Farmers in Vellore appeared to display what we term, a 'not-in-my-circle' syndrome, as they would prefer their neighbours to use human urine rather than their friends, family and colleagues. The main factors that motivated farmers to respond positively to re-use of urine Were improved soil quality and potential cost savings from reduced use of chemical fertilisers. Fear of crop die-off, fear of being ridiculed and uncertainty over consumer marketplace behaviour were significant factors among farmers with a negative attitude. Furthermore, the survey responses indicated that besides socio-demographic factors, other factors such as 'trust' might have to be taken into consideration when planning and implementing nutrient recycling programmes. Early dialogue, continuous interaction and integration of user stakeholders (producers and consumers) in conceptualisation, design and implementation of nutrient recycling programmes are essential to ensure future success and wider adoption. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Sustainable sanitation; Nutrient recycling; Survey; Faecophobia; Willingness-to-use; Psycho-sociological study

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2017, Volume: 581-582, pages: 885-896

    SLU Authors