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Home > Phase 1 > Phase 1 Volta > Safeguards in wastewater-irrigated urban and periurban vegetable farming (PN38)

Full Project Title: Safeguarding public health concerns, livelihoods and productivity in wastewater irrigated urban and periurban vegetable farming (PN38)


Farmers growing vegetables in and around urban areas are meeting the increasing demand for food in many cities in developing countries. However, the quality of irrigation water used is poor due to contamination from untreated wastewater caused by improper urban sanitation. Thus this practice, though beneficial in its contributions to urban food security and livelihoods, raises public health concerns due to the risks posed from untreated wastewater to farmers and vegetable consumers.

The project objective was to develop integrated and user-oriented strategies to safeguard public health concerns without compromising livelihoods and land and water productivity in wastewater irrigated urban and peri-urban vegetable farming.

Research Highlights

Research highlights

  • Pre-intervention assessments showed that irrigation water used in irrigated urban vegetable farming in Ghana has high levels of feacal contamination. Vegetables in markets were equally highly polluted with faecal matter and pesticides. Most contamination occurred in the farms.
  • A significant achievement was in building human capacity. Various kinds of training and awareness materials have been developed including videos, flip charts and policy briefs. Policy makers plan to integrate best practices identified into their routine extension materials.
Project Outcomes

Project outcomes

  • The project has witnessed direct involvement in field trials and trainings of more than 200 urban vegetable farmers, 60 key vegetable sellers and more than 300 street food vendors. In addition, about 4 extension officers from each of the municipal directorates have been involved.
  • There has been significant increase in awareness and knowledge levels regarding health risks and risk reduction interventions. Different stakeholders are increasingly adopted a number of best practices identified in the project. Farmers are increasingly implementing safer irrigation practices especially sedimentation ponds and change of water application techniques. For example, an increasing number of farmers in Kumasi are now using better constructing on-farm ponds and water-fetching behavior has changes. Caterers are also making changes in their washing after trainings on what methods are effective.
Publications and Outputs

To view all outputs from project PN38 visit our document repository.

Selected publications and outputs

Peer-reviewed papers

  1. Drechsel, P. Raschid-Sally, L., and Abaidoo, R. (2008). Reducing risk from wastewater use in urban farming – A case study of Accra, Ghana. In ‘Urban water security: managing risks’ Eds Jimenez B., and Joan Rose. UNESCO publication (in press).
  2. Seidu, R. Amoah, P., Heistad, A. Strenstrom, T. –A., and Drechsel, P. (2008). A Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment of Reclaimed Water Irrigation in Accra: Exploring the Effects of Water Quality and Marketing Points on Health Risks. Journal of Water and Health (accepted).
  3. Drechsel, P., Keraita, B., Amoah, P., Abaidoo, R. Raschid-Sally, L., Bahri, A. (2008). Reducing health risks from wastewater use in urban and peri-urban sub-Saharan Africa: Applying the 2006 WHO guidelines. Water Science & Technology 57 (9).
  4. Keraita, B., Drechsel, P., and Konradsen, F. (2008). Using on-farm sedimentation ponds to improve microbial quality of irrigation water in urban vegetable farming in Ghana. Water Science & Technology 57 (4): 519–525.
  5. Keraita, B., Drechsel, P., Konradsen, F. and Vreugdenhil, R.C. (2008). Potential of simple filters to improve microbial quality of irrigation water used in urban vegetable farming in Ghana, Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A, 43:7, 749-755.

Other publications

  1. IWMI-KNUST 2008. Five keys to safer food. Modified WHO poster and manual. CPWF 38 and 51.
  2. Raschid-Sally, L. and P. Drechsel. 2007. Wastewater Use in Agriculture: Empirical Evidence. In: S.W. Trimble (Editor) Encyclopaedia of Water Science. Taylor & Francis, New York, USA (Accepted for Publication).
  3. Keraita, B. and P. Drechsel. 2007. Safer options for wastewater irrigated urban vegetable farming in Ghana. LEISA 23.3: 26-28.
Final Report
Project Partners

Project partners


Project Lead

Project lead


For more information on Phase 1 outputs please contact Udana Ariyawansa.



1 Comment

  1. Amanda Harding says:

    Missing here – links to project partners, publications on line, basic methodology, documentation generated by the project, link to stories from the field, policy messages …
    Need to cross link.
    This could be MUCH more useful!
    What will it take for us to turn this around?