ASSESSING THE POTENTIAL TO IMPROVE AGRICULTURAL AND PUBLIC HEALTH OUTCOMES IN TOGO THROUGH ECOLOGICAL SANITATION
Barrett, Whitman Alexander
Togolese farmers’ traditional soil fertility management practices are no longer adequate to maintain fertility under intensive cultivation, and synthetic fertilizers are applied at rates too low to balance nutrient exports from harvest and erosion. Simultaneously, Togo has one of the highest rates of open defecation in the world, and the prevalence of exposed human feces contributes to a rate of under-five mortality nearly double the global average. Ecological sanitation, a suite of sanitation technologies that aim to reduce the negative environmental outcomes of traditional sanitation systems while facilitating the reuse of human excreta for agriculture, may be an effective approach to resolve these twin agricultural and public health crises. This paper will discuss the agricultural and public health context in Togo, examine historical methods of maintaining soil fertility in the region and the ways in which these methods have broken down, and review the literature on the safe reuse of human excreta for agriculture. Using existing population and spatial data, along with estimates of the nutrient content in human excreta, I evaluate the potential to improve Togolese farmers’ access to soil fertility amendments through the promotion of ecological sanitation technologies. This analysis reveals that human excreta nutrient concentration per hectare of cropland from ranges from a high of 65.0 kg N ha-1, 11.5 kg P ha-1, and 16.1 kg K ha-1 in the Maritime region to a low of 4.8 kg N ha-1, 0.9 kg P ha-1, and 1.2 kg K ha-1 in the Centrale region. This suggests that nutrient recapture and reuse may be more viable in more densely populated areas of Togo.
Master of Professional Studies
Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
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