An analysis of a peri-urban sanitation market and farmers’ perception on excreta reuse in agriculture in Dangme West District, Ghana

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MAY 2016
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This study sought to analyse a peri-urban sanitation market and farmers’ perception on excreta reuse for agricultural purpose in Dangme West District of Ghana. Specifically, the study examined the constraints, motivations and strategies to the operation of sanitation business; analysed financing mechanisms and willingness-to-pay (WTP) for improved household latrines; investigated farmers’ perceptions toward excreta reuse for agricultural purpose; and reviewed literature on regulatory policies for sustainable sanitation. Data were collected using observations, interview guide and survey questionnaire. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used for data analysis and reporting. The motivations and constraints to sanitation business were examined using case sanitation service providers (SSPs). Budgetary estimates and the logit/logistic model were employed to analyse households’ latrine financing decisions, and their WTP for improved household latrines, using the contingent valuation method (CVM). Farmers’ perception on excreta reuse as fertilizer was analysed with a Likert-type scale and the ordered probit model. Results of the study showed that there exist various sanitation-related businesses such as latrine builders/masons, hardware suppliers and pit-emptiers, who operate as sole proprietors in a market characterized as monopolistic competition in the study area. Sanitation business in the study area was found to be profitable, despite the financial, institutional and social challenges to the SSPs’ business. The study found that a majority of the households practise open defecation (ODF), though they prefer improved latrines, particularly the flush latrine and ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine. Lack of space and funds, availability of alternative option (beach) and no economic value for excreta were mentioned by the households as key considerations to owning a household latrine. A comparison of the households’ income and expenditure showed that the households have sufficient income to finance the construction and management of their latrines, contrary to the claim that they do not have funds to build a household latrine. A majority of households were willing to pay for improved latrines via savings rather than the use of credit, although the financial institutions in the study area are interested to offer loans for household latrines. Empirical results from the logistic model showed that there exists some relationship between households’ latrine financing decisions and their socioeconomic and community characteristics such as gender, education, household composition, income, tenancy, defecation practice and location of community. It was also found that a majority of farmers ‘disagree’ that excreta are a waste and they would use excreta as fertilizer if sterilised; as they ‘agree’ that excreta could pose health risks. Empirical results showed that a farmer’s decision to use excreta as fertilizer is more related to the perception on excreta as a resource, experience in community, household size, income, and land tenure system. Regulatory options identified for sustainable sanitation include the use of community-based organizations, the professional and trade associations, and consumers as 'watch groups'. Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations, among others, have been made to help improve the Ghanaian peri-urban sanitation: there is the need to address the constraints to sanitation business for effective service delivery. Households should be encouraged to consider the ‘cheaper’ and more feasible latrine technologies, and also adopt joint-resource mobilization strategies for their latrines. Programmes aimed at promoting improved sanitation, in a sustainable manner, should consider the heterogeneous needs and location of households as well as the reuse potential of excreta in agriculture. The choice of regulatory options for sustainable sanitation should be based on a comparative assessment of the trade-offs between effectiveness, ease of implementation and costs and benefits.
A thesis submitted to The School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Agricultural Economics, 2016