Promoting Innovative Composting Alternatives of Agricultural and Municipal Waste

Promoting Innovative Composting Alternatives
of Agricultural and Municipal Waste

Join Us in Accra, Ghana | November 2-6, 2015


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About the Training


To meet the food requirements of Africa’s ever-growing population, it is estimated that food production will need to grow from 40 percent to 100 percent over current levels. The lower end of the range is the minimum to maintain the status quo in food production per capita. Intermediate estimates take into account the desire to meet Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for reducing hunger and poverty. Estimates at the higher end also take into account the likely rise in food demand from a growing middle-class in most African countries, particularly with respect to increasing consumption of animal-based protein which requires increased levels of grain production. Under any scenario, the absolute growth in food supply required is unprecedented in Africa’s history. Unfortunately, Africa has the most depleted soils in the world, with the annual nutrient loss from the continent’s soil estimated to be about US $4 billion. Particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, nutrients removed through crop harvests are at least four times more than nutrients returned to the soil in the form of manure and fertilizer, resulting in excessive negative nutrient balance in croplands. There is a critical need to reverse the trend of soil nutrient depletion and to meet the food requirements of the growing populations and protect the environment for future generations.

While declarations of the African Union Member States at the Abuja Fertilizer Summit in 2006 that “fertilizer, from both inorganic and organic sources, is a strategic commodity without borders” have given considerable political momentum to issues of soil nutrient depletion, affordability of fertilizers remains a key constraint to intensification. This constraint is exacerbated with the price volatility of the primary inputs (i.e., natural gas) for the production of inorganic fertilizer. From this perspective, integrated soil fertility management where the use of organic materials as a complement to chemical fertilizers can be promoted, with the recognition that in the short-term, inorganic fertilizer will continue to provide the main sources of plant nutrients and organic fertilizers alone cannot provide the marginal yield increases needed to achieve food security in Africa.

Large quantities of solid waste are generated in urban areas of all African nations, which include household, market, horticultural and agricultural waste. The average solid waste generation is about 0.4-0.6 kg/person/day for most African countries. The high content of organic matter (50-90 percent) provides an opportunity for exploitation through composting processes. However, rather unfortunately, in African countries, organic manure resources are no longer fully explored or exploited. Unlike in rural communities, there is usually little or no return of food biomass and related nutrients into the food production process. Most waste ends up in landfills or pollutes the urban environment. This is transforming cities into vast nutrient sinks, while the rural production areas are becoming increasingly nutrient deficient. For example, statistics in Ghana show that in Accra and Kumasi, 255,000 to 366,000 and 230,000 to 250,000 tons of organic waste, respectively, are effectively available annually for composting, meaning that these amounts are already collected and have no other current use. The nutrient content of this waste in Accra alone is estimated at 3,500 to 5,300 tons per year of nitrogen, 1,700 to 2,600 tons per year of phosphorus and 760 to 1,100 tons per year of potassium. These amounts could easily cover the entire nutrient demand of urban farming in Ghana.

More recently, pilot programs in some African countries such as Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria have already indicated that the recycling of waste for fertilizer can be done with the development and transfer of safe sound plant nutrient technology. The productive use of municipal and human waste to generate fertilizer offers an important source of plant nutrients to improve soil fertility, yields and food security in Africa. The training program is therefore designed to build the capacity of the participants to take full advantage of the enormous municipal and human wastes generated in order to improve agricultural productivity and move toward food security in Africa. The training seeks to address the type of storage/collection and treatment needed in order to determine how much of these resources can be recovered and harnessed and, at the same time, how safe the final product is for the end-user. The training will promote the productive use of municipal and human waste, in addition to agricultural waste, for fertilizer in Africa based on existing initiatives on the continent.


The program is designed for:

  • Personnel tasked with successful organic waste land application programs, environmental engineers and consultants, agricultural engineers and all those dedicated to sustainable land application of organic residuals, including agronomists, soil scientists, irrigation experts, fertilizer manufacturers, researchers and extensionists from national and international agricultural research institutes and universities, as well as policymakers from governments and ministries in charge of agricultural productivity and sanitation planning.
  • Executives and managers of fertilizer and agricultural input organizations, as well as innovative farmers will find this program extremely useful.
  • Representatives of international organizations and donors involved in developing strategies for increased agricultural production through the use of emerging technologies that promote solid waste and fecal sludge composting, organic farming and increased efficiencies will also benefit from this program.
  • National commissions of agriculture as well as international associations of horticultural producers will also find the program useful.
  • Municipal authorities committed to clean environments through sustainable waste management in urban and rural communities.


The objectives of this five-day training program include:

  • Improving participants’ capabilities to overcome constraints that hamper waste recycling and the feasibility of recycling strategies and their contribution to ensuring sustainable agricultural productivity and improved sanitation in rapidly growing rural, urban and peri-urban environments.
  • Increase participants’ knowledge of the principles and methodologies of solid waste and fecal sludge collection, storage and handling to ensure efficiency.
  • Update participants on the development of innovative composting technologies to enhance the effectiveness, aesthetics and applicability of the composted material to increase acceptability among smallholder farmers.
  • Increase participants’ knowledge on: (i) proper handling of composted organic fertilizer to eliminate any risks associated with their use; (ii) calculate optimal application rates; and (iii) the long-term benefits of their use on soil health.
  • Identify policy options for promoting innovative composting alternatives use in an integrated soil fertility management approach in Africa.



The five-day training session will include lectures, case studies, field visits and demonstrations of tools and methodologies. These will demonstrate the current technologies that can help both compost producers and smallholder farmers improve their productivity and livelihoods while simultaneously preserving the environment. All training deliberations and presentations will be conducted in English.


Topics & More


The topics to be addressed by a faculty of experts will cover the general concepts associated with:

  1. Site-specific management of municipal and urban wastes, including solid waste and fecal sludge, and the impact on:
    • Environment.
    • Human health and nutrition.
    • Revenue increases.
  2. Innovative alternative composting will be discussed with respect to:
    • The pilot plant and input materials.
    • Physicochemical and microbial characteristics of composting feedstock.
    • Solid waste and fecal sludge for co-composting.
    • Vermicomposting.
    • Composting for smallholder farmers (compost tea, static composting, etc.).
    • Industrial composting.
    • Turning frequency, composting process and compost quality.
    • Compost maturity (Cress test)
    • Options of enriching the compost in order to suit specific crop needs.
  3. Bases for successful and sustainable land application of organic materials to improve soil productivity:
    • Principles of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM).
    • Characteristics of organic material critical to sustainable land application.
    • Soil characteristics and management practices critical to sustainable land application of organic materials.
    • Calculation of application rates consistent with sustainable land application based on organic material and soil characteristics and regulatory guidance.
  4. Promoting innovative composting alternatives in Africa:
    • Carbon credit generation to facilitate sustainable farming.
    • Cost-benefit analysis, business and marketing of composting.
    • Discussions of methodologies for promotion and information dissemination on compost use in Africa.
    • Viable public and private partnerships: regulations and risk sharing.
    • Guidelines for the safe use of waste for compost making and compost handling.


The program faculty will include subject matter experts from IFDC and partner organizations.

Travel & Fees



The training will take place in Accra, Ghana, at the Erata Hotel – a three-star facility situated in the serene environs of East Legon and residential area in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. Conveniently located; a 10 minute drive from the Kotoka International Airport, 30-minute drive to Accra City Center, 20 minute drive to Aburi Botanical Gardens and 5 minute drive to the University of Ghana. Erata Hotel has over 50 well-furnished, air-conditioned rooms and offers a complimentary shuttle from the airport. Participants will be extended IFDC’s negotiated special rate of US $90.00 per person/per night for bed and breakfast (inclusive of taxes). This rate is valid for reservations made NO LATER THAN October 2, 2015. After this date, reservations will be subject to room availability and at the best available rate.

Participants will be responsible for reservation and payment of accommodations at the Erata Hotel. Participants should plan to arrive in Accra, Ghana, on Sunday, November 1, 2015.


Ouagadougou Avenue, Okponglo, East Legon
P.O. Box KIA 9968
Airport-Accra, GHANA
Telephone: +233 544 336761/572 717590/263 003927
Telefax: +233 302 505 119 Web Site:


Participants who are not eligible to enter Ghana without a visa should apply at the nearest consulate of Ghana for a visa. All required immunizations and health formalities should be completed. Medical insurance should be obtained by participants. The training program fee does not cover any medical insurance or expenses.

Enrollment & Fees




The program fee for this training course is US $1,650 per participant (inclusive of a US $250 non-refundable deposit) and should reach IFDC no later than October 2, 2015, four (4) weeks before the program is scheduled. Those received thereafter will be accepted at IFDC’s discretion and incur a late fee. Participants will be given the opportunity to take advantage of an early bird rate if registration and payment is received by IFDC prior to September 2.

The program fee, less the non-refundable deposit, will be refunded for cancellations made two (2) weeks before the commencement of the program. Ninety percent of the paid fee will be returned and 10 percent, in addition to the deposit, will be charged to cover administrative costs for cancellations made between two (2) weeks and one (1) week before the commencement of the program. Cancellations made less than one (1) week before the commencement of the program will receive no refund.

Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Paid participants will receive priority. An organization wishing to enroll more than one participant should supply information and payment for each participant.


Payment of the program fee can be made by:

  • (1) check or draft payable to IFDC;
  • (2) wire transfer to IFDC’s account in the U.S.A. through First Metro Bank, 406 West Avalon Avenue, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, U.S.A., ABA number 062203955 for credit to IFDC account number 55281; or
  • (3) major credit card – MasterCard, Visa or American Express.

The program fee covers registration, training and reference material, coffee/tea breaks, all lunches and surface transportation on field trips. The fee does not include air travel, lodging and dinner expenses or medical and communication expenses.



IFDC is a nonprofit, public international organization (PIO) dedicated to increasing agricultural productivity and food production through the development and use of plant nutrients in sustainable crop production systems. Headquartered in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, U.S.A., IFDC is involved in human resource development, research and technical assistance in collaboration with public, private, national and international organizations throughout the world. IFDC has conducted more than 700 formal workshops, study tours and training programs for over 11,000 participants from over 150 countries since 1974. The programs have covered a wide range of subjects including integrated soil fertility management and fertilizer use efficiency, fertilizer production technology, agro-input dealerships, competitive marketing, supply chain management, investment analysis, policy reforms and numerous specialized topics.


Training and Workshop Coordination Unit

P.O. Box 2040 Muscle Shoals, Alabama 35662, U.S.A.
Telephone: +1 (256) 381-6600
Telefax: +1 (256) 381-7408
As a nonprofit organization, IFDC does not finance or sponsor any participant.