Agricultural production capacity and food security built into a Model for self-financing, ecological, sustainable, local integrated development projects.

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NGO Stichting Bakens Verzet ("Another Way" ), Netherlands.


Agricultural production capacity and food security built into a Model for self-financing, ecological, sustainable, local integrated development projects.


The Model is in the public domain and available for use free of charge. It can be downloaded from website


This article shows how projects under the Model promote agricultural production and increase food security in project areas.


08.40 Agricultural production and food security.


08.40.01 First considerations.


The project covers many agriculture-related aspects, such as the management of communal lands, the sustainable recycling of wastes, local production for local consumption and the production of bio-mass for high efficiency cookers.


    The project promotes local production for local consumption. It is based on the concept that the first duty of the inhabitants is to ensure through their own efforts a good quality of life for all in the project area. The anthropological dimensions of the project, with its first level at 200-250 persons, its second level at 1500 persons, and its third level at 50.000 persons, permit diversification of and specialisation in local production. Through the plant nurseries and the seed banks set up, the choice of products will be gradually widened, starting with traditional local products and continuing with the acclimatisation of more ''exotic' ones.


The introduction of local money systems will release farmers from seasonal economic pressures. They can accumulate local money debits for seed and costs during the crop growing period, according to the natural rhythm of their activities. The interest-free micro-credit system enables them where necessary access to funds for the purchase of seeds for which formal money must be found. In this case they must be able to sell a part of their production for formal money outside the project area to repay their micro-credits.


The project privileges local private and cooperative production for family and local consumption and use of the financial structures created for this purpose. It therefore tends to act against large-scale monoculture activities. The project is formally apolitical. It will not directly or indirectly support either industrial activities or the importation of fertilisers into the project area, an important cause of financial leakage. It will privilege the creation of alternatives to them, including the 100% useful local recycling of waste products. Full freedom for industrial activities and the importation of fertilisers remains under the traditional formal money system which continues to operate in parallel with the local money system set up by the project.


08.40.10 Management of communal lands.


The local Money system set up in an early phase of project execution enables the creation of classes and groups of owners of real and personal goods. For instance, benefits from the use of communal lands by nomad pastoralists or the revenues from the sale of wood from communal land can, subject to the decision of the responsible organs, be divided amongst the members of the groups in question. The costs of the management of communal lands and things can also be distributed amongst the members of the group of owners. In principle, collectively owned property remains inalienable. The same applies to mineral rights subject to application of national laws. For example, gypsum or anhydrite deposits found in the project zone are the property of the inhabitants in the tank commission area or the well commission area where the deposits are found. The deposits are managed by the groups themselves. The project structures therefore make it possible to formalise the management of traditional possessions without directly changing any of the rights attached to them.


08.40.20 Waste recycling structures.


File 06.26 Recycling structures offers a description of the planned waste recycling structures. The recycling of organic material (urine and faeces) involves both traditional agricultural activity and activities at household level. In larger villages, it automatically becomes a sort of urban agriculture. The main purpose of it is to recycle the 7.5 litres of urine per produced by an average family of five members each day with at least 75 litres of the filtered grey water  they use. This is sufficient for household, vertical or roof-top gardens capable of producing a good part, if not all, of the food requirements of the families. Collection of urine and grey water under the local money systems set up is also an option available to members. Material collected is used in market gardens situated near the villages. The collection is organised at the level of the (usually about 200)  tank commissions in each project area. Faeces are composted on site. Once composted (see the project for complete details) they can be moved without risk for use as soil conditioners in household, vertical or roof-top gardens or taken to local market gardens near the villages.


The system for the collection of recycling of waste waters, urine, excreta, other organic solids, non-organic solids will be set up during Moraisian organisation workshops held for the purpose.

The operations will take place under the local money LETS systems. A separate interest-free credit fund is provided in the budget for purchase of equipment which is not available locally and/or which has to be paid for in formal currency. In principle, the equipment used should not require the consumption of imported energy (electricity, diesel, petrol etc) which causes an on-going financial leakage from the project area. Transport distances should be kept as short as possible.

The following drawings and graphs form an integral part of this project proposal.


Detailed technical information on the treatment of grey water is included in attachment 24.

The main principles behind the proposed system are:

– (a) Recycling should always be done at the lowest possible level, starting with the individual user.
– (b) Recycling at a second level should also be done as late as possible during the composting cycle to reduce the volume of material handled and to increase safety in its handling.
– (c) The whole system should be operated within the local money (LETS) currencies.
– (d) Capital investment for recycling equipment, transport and storage will be a priority for Micro-credit loans.
– (e) "Dirty" work will be better paid than "clean" work in the LETS systems, because the rate of pay will reflect the willingness of workers to do the work. Those doing "unpleasant" work will have an above-average income within the LETS systems so that there should be no difficulty finding people to do the work.
– (f) Waste should, as far as possible, be recycled within the project area so communities are self-sufficient and there is no leakage of formal money from the system. In particular, materials like metals, paper, plastics can often be treated at local level for use in local industries creating jobs and local value added during both treatment and production. The principle also promotes the export of re-cycled products for formal currency which will be used to repay the interest free micro-credits loans.
– (g) Lucrative job possibilities are created within the system.
– (h) Export and sale of selected non-organic solid waste through the recycling centres for formal currency so micro-credits for re-cycling operation can be repaid.
– (i) Selected non-organic solid waste products will treated locally and recycled as raw material for local artisan industries.
– (j) Interest free micro-loans for compost collection equipment may need to be for a longer term than other micro-credits as most of the compost will be recycled within the local currency system. Some of the compost collection charges may have to be in formal currency or the equipment may need to be used part-time outside the LETS systems to help earn formal currency to repay the micro-credit loans.
– (k) Recycling of special industrial and medical wastes to be addressed separately.

– (l) The use of throw-away waste products without value added, such as product packaging, is discouraged.

– (m) Repairable goods will be repaired at project level under the local money LETS system set up. Spare parts not locally available will be charged in formal money at their original imported formal money price.


08.40.21 Use of composted faeces.


Faeces are composted without the addition of any fresh material for as long as possible, but not less than for  12 months, during which it is aerobically transformed into a high quality safe soil conditioner. It can then be recycled at home in vertical or roof gardens if there are any. If there are cultural problems relating to recycling of the compost at household level, it can be moved under the local money system for local use in agriculture without health risk and without risk of contamination of water resources. It is a matter of moving small amounts of material (about one wheelbarrow full per person per year) over short distances for local use.


08.40.22 Recycling of urine and food security.


The urine tanks will have to be emptied regularly unless evaporation systems are used. Wet systems are preferred because they create more value added in terms of increased garden production. Urine, with a little lime sawdust or equivalent added regularly, can in principle  be used systematically for watering plants as long as it is diluted with 10 parts of water or grey water to one part of urine, substantially increasing the productivity of the garden.

The small quantities of water in containers used by urinal users for urinal cleaning and for personal hygiene will be added to the urine tanks.

Toilets and san-plats are designed to separate urine from faeces. Where desired, urinals will be available for use by men and boys. Small amounts of water entering the urine tanks as a result of personal washing practices and (where applicable) urinal washing do not harm the system. Small amounts of ash (from the high efficiency cookers used) can be regularly added to the urine tanks.

In some cases urine, in particular that of pregnant women and of women breast-feeding their children may have a high formal money value for the pharmaceuticals industry. Unfortunately in the case of this project the exploitation of this potential does not appear to exist.

The recycling of urine is usually coupled with that of household grey water. It is not necessary to add "fresh" water to the urine. Household grey water, put through a simple filter to remove eventual fats content, can be mixed with urine at household level. Households without garden but with a flat roof can install vertical gardens made from gypsum composites and use them to increase their own food production potential. 

Users unable to re-cycle the urine from their tanks and who do not use evaporation systems will have to arrange for the urine tanks to be emptied periodically under the local LETS systems for re-cycling within the project area.

Urine is in principle sterile, but can contain pathogens where users are ill. While risk of contamination is thought to be low,  users may wish to provide for a double tank system offering temporary storage of urine for up to six months when planning their systems. In that case larger storage tanks with a volume of up to 0.75m3 would need to be used.

The amount of water and fertiliser mixture available to households this way is at least 82.5 litres per day. Each person produces about 1.5 litres of urines per day. In a family of five, this is 7.5 litres. The urine is mixed with 10 parts, or 75 litres, of filtered grey water. In practice, all the family grey water can simply be filtered into the urine tank. Since the amount of clean drinking water  available is about 25 litres per person per day, this is 125 litres per day per family.

In principle, the 1.5 litres urine produced by each person each day is enough to fertilise 400m2 of land, or 2000m2 for each family of five. This is sufficient to supply most of the family's food requirements.  In practice the urine/grey water mixtures produced will receive more intensive application because of space limitations in on and around users' homes. In any case, correct recycling of urine and grey water can supply food necessary for basic survival of the family.

For technical information refer to in search of drivers for dry sanitation in the list of attachments.


08.40.24 Other household organic solids.


Household organic wastes not being urine or faeces are usually made up of kitchen and food leftovers. These can cause disagreeable smells if they are thrown indiscriminately into the environment, where they can form a threat to the health of the residents and increase risk of infection from animals and insects.


The wastes are, furthermore, valuable. There are several ways of recycling them usefully. This is a problem in every country in the world.

The best way of solving the problem is by keeping animals such as chickens, goats, and, where there are no religious problems, pigs. This way waste products can be recycled into eggs, milk, and meat. For example, once chicken consumes, on an average, kitchen wastes of five people. Since communities served by each of the 297 tank commissions have about 200-250 people, kitchen and food leftovers can be collected once or twice every day by one person in the locality. This person can keep the animals necessary for the recycling of the wastes, creating  a productive activity and at the same time eliminating a serious problem. The income forms an extra source of local money revenue for the person involved who is also free to sell the eggs, milk, or meat for formal money is he or she so wishes.  

Household organic solids can also be recycled at household level by aerobic composting in appropriate bins locally made under the local money system. Leftovers are mixed with soil. Once they have composted, they can be added to household gardens or collected by operators working under the local  money system. Naturally, the leftovers themselves can also be collected by local operators for composting and recycling at tank commission level. Collection would take place under the local money system by farmers who can recycle the compost on their lands. They may even wish to sell the compost back to households.

Kitchen wastes and food leftovers should not be added to the faeces composting tanks as they can already be contaminated by flies and other insects capable of reproducing  inside the faeces tanks. Once in there, the only way they can come out is through the toilet seat cover once it is lifted.

Intelligent use of kitchen waste products can directly create important added value to the local economy, even in times of water scarcity. Small animals and poultry need very little water, and can survive of filtered grey water. They can supply food up to the point where, in periods of extended  extreme drought, there is no water, not even recycled grey water, left to keep them alive. As a last resort, the animals themselves can form a food resource for the inhabitants in times of prolonged crisis.


08.40.25 System for the collection and storage of compost material


Individual members at the level of each tank commission will decide which services they feel they can be use. The services provided in one tank commission area may therefore be different from those at another one. The services provided are in any case labour-intensive and will create numerous jobs which will be well paid under the local money systems.

Collection, storage and recycling systems will be set up during a capacitation workshop which will be held as soon as the local money  and micro-credit systems are in place and in operation. The local operators will get priority under the micro-finance structures so they can set up their activities. Item 60703 of the budget provides a small fund to stimulate rapid execution of this part of the project structures.


08.40.30 Food and water security in times of drought and crisis.



In the case of serious drought for extensive periods of from 2 to 3 years no community in the world whether in the North or in the South, whether industrialised or under development would be able to survive without help from outside. In past periods of human history people may sometimes have been free to migrate to areas which had remained green and fertile. Demographic pressures in the modern world are such that this is very rarely an option in our times.


Project areas under the Model undoubtedly enjoy a greater resistance to droughts and other crises than most other communities. However, they cannot offer total guarantees against disaster.


For example, recommended solar pumps work at total heads up to 150 meters. This allows interested parties working where there is a risk of long-term drought or other serious climatic crises to deepen boreholes to reach a lower (and presumably safer) aquifer. It is also possible to increase the power installed with each pump from 300Wp to 400Wp, to help compensate the higher heads involved. Increase in installed power can also be introduced gradually, according to specific risks or requirements. Should a choice be made to allow extra margins from the beginning, provision should be made under item 70101 (Borehole construction) for an extra sum of Euro 250.000, and under item 70204 (solar PV panels) for an extra sum of Euro 125.000. Since reserves are inadequate to cover these increases, the total project budget should be increased to Euro 5.350.000- Euro 5.500.000.


Under conditions of extended drought for 2-3 years, reserves of harvested rain-water will have run out. There will be no surface water available, and perhaps no water left in rivers. The only water available to the inhabitants will be the 25 litres per person per day from their deep well sources. The system of recycling of urine and grey waters will enable people to recycle this water to produce a minimum food supply in their roof-top or vertical gardens to survive.


The recommended solar pumps also have the feature that they can be installed at any depth below the level of the water in the borehole. It is therefore possible to take strong fluctuations in the water level in the borehole into account to cover situations of severe water draw-down during the day in conditions of slow borehole replenishment. However, where night-time replenishment becomes insufficient to compensate for extra drawings during the day, the quantity of water pumped must be reduced either by turning the PV arrays out of the sun or by reducing the number of pumps in operation. As users start receiving less than 25 litres per person per day their general situation will become more and more critical.


Plant nurseries will be set up under the local money system created by the project. Tens of thousands of fruit and vegetable oil trees will be planted in the project area. The trees will take several years to sink deep roots and create relative immunity from drought conditions. Once they have done this they will form a second source of food in hard times.


08.40.40 Plant nurseries and food safety


Nurseries, especially for the cultivation of native trees, including fruit trees, will be formed as commercial activities under the local money system set up, with financing of necessary imported items  under the interest-free micro-credit structures. In principle, there is no formal money requirement for these activities. Should formal money be needed, the activities would qualify for interest-free micro-credits. For these reasons, there is no specific item in the project balance sheet for the nurseries.


Fruit (nd vegetable oil trees will be planted along paths between villages and in public places and placed under the management of needy families. Tens of thousands of trees can be planted in the project area. Once the trees have had time to sink their roots and no longer depend on surfrace water for survival, they will represent a second important source of food in times of extended drought.


08.40.50 Cooperative seed banks.


The project will set one or more seed banks up under the local money system. The seed bank(s) will serve :


a)                                           For the reintroduction and conservation of local and regional plant sorts threatened with extinction.

b)                                           The preparation and conservation of seeds for local farmers.

c)                                           The conservation and reintroduction of traditionally used medicinal plants.


Local farmers can buy seed from the seed banks without needing any formal money. They can also extend their debit limits under the local money system in accordance with their seasonal business cycle.


08.40.60 Biomass for the production of mini-briquettes.


Another aspect of agricultural activity under the project is the cultivation of biomass for mini-briquettes for high efficiency stoves which will be made available to all households. It is assumed that each family will need 3.5kg of mini-briquettes per day. With 50 families in a tank commission area, that is 175kg per day.  Over 365 days, that is about 65 tons per year in each of the tank commission area (usually about 200) in the project area. A mini-briquette manufacturing unit will be set up in each of the (usually about 35) well commission areas. The mini-briquettes will may made according to a recipe which takes into account the household waste available for recycling, waste agricultural materials and specialised crop-growing.  Since each well commission serves 5-9 tank commission areas, the average production of each of the units will be about 500 tons. The production unit will sign contracts with 2 or 3 farmers in each tank commission area (therefore 600-900 farmers in the project area) to supply the required biomass. Each farmer will supply 20-30 tons of biomass, where possible equally divided over the year. Or from 2 to 2.5 tons per month.


Assuming a fuel saving of 6.5 kg/day of fuel in each of 10.000 families in a project area, savings amount to 65 tons of wood per day or 23725 tons per year. Converted into tons of CO2, that is 18705 tons of CO2 per year. Assuming a market value of  Euro 24 per ton of CO2, this amounts to a credit of nearly €450.000 per project per year to which other cost and time savings can be added. Over ten years this alone would be enough to finance the project. As described in 09.33 CER certificates Kyoto Treaty : programme of activities as a single CDM project activity some timid steps are being taken to help groups of smaller projects participate in emission rights trading.  Carefully managed high application and compliance costs have so far kept them out.


08.40.70 Water conservation.


There are three main aspects to water conservation in projects under the Model : utilisation; protection; conservation.


08.40.71 Utilisation


Water use if kept to the minimum strictly necessary. This minimum requirement is 25 litres of good quality drinking water per person per day. This water is distributed to within an average of about 100 metres from users' homes with the help of solar submersible pumping systems. Taking schools, clinics, and public places and structures into account, this minimum amount comes to about 1400m2 per day. The water is supplied from about 35-40 protected boreholes or wells. Triple back-up hand-pump systems are supplied next to boreholes and wells. These are also designed to supply up to 25 litres/person/day.


The 1400m3 of drinking water are 100% recycled. First, through the recycled urine. Secondly the re-cycled household  grey water which is mixed with the urine. Thirdly, any other grey-water which is recycled separately from the urine.


Rainwater will also be harvested for other personal domestic applications. Rainfall in the project area and the physical features of peoples' homes are such that the additional capacity for the harvesting of non potable water is a maximum of 25 litres/person/day.  This water is never passed contaminated into the environment. 


None of the water supplies comes into contact with faeces at any time.  


Water collected in public places, and roads is collected in covered, protected reservoirs for small-scale drip agriculture.


Eventual water surpluses are fed directly into natural water courses.


The project does not foresee the use of underground water fro agricultural purposes. Neither does it foresee large-scale irrigation or water accumulation in the form of open ponds or dams. The project as such does not foresee the raising of fish  (agricultural production is usually more efficient); but the populations are free to support such initiatives in the framework of the micro-credit structures set up subject to proper on-going hygiene control to eliminate all risk of malaria and other water-borne infections.


Water used for the production of items made from gypsum composites is recycled for 100% within the production system itself. There is no loss of water into the environment.


08.40.72 Protection of water sources.


Water sources, be they bore-holes, wells or  reservoirs are hermetically sealed against contamination.


Underground water never comes into contact with contaminated surface waters.  First, because all stagnant surface waters are eliminated. Secondly because run-off rainwater is drained without getting polluted into water courses.


Initiatives for the total  elimination of stagnant waters will be taken at the level of each tank commission under the local money system set up in an early project phase. In cooperation with the local public authorities, inhabitants will pay maintenance groups in local money  to carry out simple drainage works as necessary. These works can be expected to extend to the creation of foot- and bicycle paths.


Refer to section 08.10 List of  files specific to hygiene education, drinking water supply and sanitation for more information on the drinking water structures  for

drawings of water points with the elimination of all surface waters so as to guarantee dry foot-walks and other surfaces to protect users from water-borne infections.


Rainwater will be harvested at household level. Streets, roads and public places will be drained.


Rapid elimination of stagnant water is just one of the activities contributing to the fight against malaria, water-borne diseases, vermin, and bad smells.


08.40.80 Conservation


Except for  1400m3 per day of clean drinking water drawn from deep wells or boreholes for direct personal use by the population, the project does not use any environmental water resources. Large scale water storage is not foreseen. The project is therefore in principle (except for the 1400m3/day of ground water) water neutral. The purpose of the project is local development  to attain a good quality of life for all in the project area. This does not require any large scale intervention which could have negative environmental effects. 


On the other hand, the project will have profound sustainable effects on the conservation of nature in the project area. For details of these, refer to section  08.30 A list of files on specific ecological issues. The project offers valuable instruments to stop deforestation, to protect fauna and flora, to improve the quality of the air, to promote optimum use of the territory, to clean and beautify villages, public places and paths between villages.


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