Agroecological Valorization of Organic Waste (AgrOW)
Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement
Global Collaboration for Resilient Food Systems projects Agro2Ecos, Women’s Fields, CATI-Gao, and Cowpea Square performed in the Maradi region and the 5R laboratory of the Direction du Cadre de Vie et de Gestion de Déchets (DCV/GD); OXFAM (Niamey); University De Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso); French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD); Université Boubakar Bâ de Tillabéri; University of Maradi; farm union partners Mooriben and Fuma Gaskiya; municipalities and local services of the ministries of agriculture and environment; and key stakeholders in the waste and agricultural sectors at local (rural and peri-urban) and territory (urban) levels
Population growth in the Sahel region has resulted in large, rapidly expanding cities with increasing food demand, pressure on agricultural production owing to climate change, and increasing soil degradation. For rural populations, unfavorable climatic conditions combined with limited access to input cause chronic food insecurity, even though it is rural agricultural production that provides more than 80 percent of urban food requirements.
Covid-19 highlighted the weaknesses in global food supplies: In 2019, there were 135 million food- insecure people versus 265 million in 2020. In addition, the availability, accessibility, and affordability of food and chemical fertilizer decreased dramatically because of the war in Ukraine. These social, economic, and environmental constraints highlight the critical need to identify sustainable solutions that rely on a locally led participatory process to counteract ongoing land degradation, adapt to climate change, cope with societal shifts, and accompany the transition between urban and rural areas.
Inadequate waste management is another challenge facing areas with rapid population growth. While waste accumulation can constitute a health and environmental hazard in urban areas, when correctly managed, this untapped resource contains a significant amount of nutrients and carbon useful for soil and agricultural production. In the absence of recycling on a territorial scale, the situation leads to urban areas becoming nutrient sinks with corresponding depletion in peri-urban and rural areas.
The AgrOW project will be implemented in two large cities of Niger—Maradi and Niamey—known for their high demographic and urban growth and urban waste flows and associated sanitation problems. Based on the work of Agro2Ecos, this project assumes that:
Alternative management of organic waste is paramount to achieve sustainable food production, including nutrient recycling, and to strengthening the link between urban and peri-urban/rural areas.
Co-composting of pre- and post-consumer organic waste (2PCW) is a feasible technology option for easy conversion of organic wastes into nutrient-rich manure and an ecologically and healthful option for reducing waste accumulation in urban areas.
The overall goal is to build on Agro2Ecos, which was able to document the stocks, usages, and perceptions of waste recycling in Maradil. Many knowledge and data gaps remain, however, as do challenges in achieving effective, efficient co-compost processing and larger adoption of this option:
Most scientific research focuses on single system composting or two-ingredient co-composting. AgrOW seeks to advance beyond the standards below:
Characteristics of multi-ingredient co-composts are poorly documented.
Most of the time, composting is performed with waste material that is generally high in either carbon or nitrogen.
Co-composting is associated with quality and sanitary concerns, nutrient instability, volatility, pathogenic infection, and possible heavy metals contamination.
Several cultural, educational, and institutional barriers exist for 2PCW, as do cultural or social taboos.
Outputs and Outcomes:
Framework set for rural and peri-urbans farmers to access a compostable resource through their integration in a “multi-value chain” of actors for ecological valorization of urban waste
Comprehensive knowledge produced on the underlying ecological principles, characteristics, and performances of multi-ingredient co-composts derived from pre- and post-consummation waste
Technical guidance and trainings on composting design and compost conditions of use for effective field application
Identification of sustainable pathways toward the development of efficient, secure, acceptable, and easy co-composting options
Territorial symbiosis vision of ecological waste management based on more connection between urban waste streams and peri-urban and rural agricultural value chains
Reduced greenhouse gas emissions from waste landfills
Reduced carbon footprint of urbanization and agricultural practices
Larger practices of co-composting pre- and post-consummation waste with engagement of more farmers in effective waste recycling for agriculture
Preservation of biochemical ecology of soil and crops with enhanced productivity and diversification of cropping systems
Reduced dependence on external inputs
Capacity strengthening to local academic institutions through the training of two PhD and 15 MSc students in interdisciplinary approach and to farmers’ organizations and extension services through dissemination and capitalization of project’s scientific and technical results
In accordance with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 11 that aims to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable,” pathways built toward the advent of sustainable city region food systems (CRFS) returning organic residues to agricultural land