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Safe Re-use Practices in Wastewater-Irrigated Urban Vegetable Farming in Ghana
by Bernard Keraitaa,e*, Robert C. Abaidoob, Ines Beernaertsc, Sasha Koo-Oshimad, Philip Amoaha, Pay Drechsela, and Flemming Konradsene
http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2012.024.004, pp. 147–158
Published online 7 August 2012
AbstractIrrigation using untreated wastewater poses health risks to farmers and consumers of crop products, especially vegetables. With hardly any wastewater treatment in Ghana, a multiple-barrier approach was adopted and safe re-use practices were developed through action research involving a number of stakeholders at different levels along the food chain. This paper presents an overview of safe re-use practices including farm-based water treatment methods, water application techniques, post-harvest handling practices, and washing methods. The overview is based on a comprehensive analysis of the literature and our own specific studies, which used data from a broad range of research methods and approaches. Identifying, testing, and assessment of safe practices were done with the active participation of key actors using observations, extensive microbiological laboratory assessments, and field-based measurements. The results of our work and the work of others show that the practices developed had a great potential to reduce health risks, especially when used to complement each other at different levels of the food chain. Future challenges are the development of a comprehensive framework that best combines tested risk-reduction strategies for wide application by national stakeholders as well as their potential implementation into legally enforceable national standards.
Keywords: Ghana, health risks, irrigated urban agriculture, safe re-use practices, wastewater
Affiliationsa International Water Management Institute, Africa Office, Accra, Ghana.
b College of Agricultural and Natural Resources, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
c United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Sub-regional Office for West Africa, Accra, Ghana.
d FAO, Wastewater Guidelines Committee Member, Headquarters, Rome, Italy.
e Department of International Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Banner photos include a Cape Cod cranberry bog; a cranberry “screen house” used to grade fresh cranberries; farmland near Lake Placid, NY, in the Adirondack Mountains; Montmorency cherry trees on the Mission Peninsula of northern Michigan; the historic Round Barn in the South Mountain Apple Belt of Adams County, Pennsylvania; the “Sea of Grapes” district of the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, near Erie, Penn; a field of cabbages near Shortsville, NY, home to one of the world’s largest sauerkraut factories. All photos copyright by Duncan Hilchey.
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