On-farm treatment options for wastewater, greywater and fecal sludge with special reference to West Africa

This paper focuses on the on-farm treatment of waste water, particularly in West Africa, and argues that while although it can hardly replace conventional treatment, it can contribute to risk reduction, especially if combined with other barriers such as safe irrigation practices and post-harvest crop washing. It argues that ‘small-scale’ and ‘low cost’ are not necessarily roadblocks for setting up effective farm-based treatment systems. The larger challenge identified is to understand how best to facilitate any required behaviour change by farmers to adjust their farming practices. It says that participatory on-farm research will be needed to study risk perceptions and awareness, as well as production factors influencing the adoption of treatment options, such as tenure security and additional cost, and land or labour requirements. Interventions which can build on farmers’ current practices, such as on-farm storage ponds or river bank filtration, will probably have the highest potential of acceptance.