Compost farming

How to deliver food security, clean water & sanitation


Food security, water and sanitation play an essential and critical role in the well-being of people in developing countries. These issues are closely linked and influence each other. In solving the related problems one could focus on each of the items individually. A better and more effective way is to find a combined approach resulting in the improvement of food security, increasing water quality and vanishing problems due to poor sanitation.

Linking pin

The linking pin between food security, water and sanitation is the realisation that urine and faeces are a highly valuable resource. They contain minerals and nutrients without which agriculture is not possible. How should the human excrement be treated so that it can be utilised for agricultural purposes? This is a technical question that can be solved dependent on the local situation, the availability of compostable organic materials and means of transportation.

Step 1: Fully closed latrines

First the latrines have to be closed to prevent excrement polluting the ground table. This can be done by using our Dutch Latrine Bag (DLB). The DLB is large plastic foil sheet bag situated inside a latrine. It captures all faeces/urine so that they can be applied 100% to produce compost.

Step 2: Towards valuable compost

Once the latrine is full, the human excrements are removed out of the DLB and mixed with carbon rich biological components (market left overs, garden materials etc.) to deliver hygienic compost in several months’ time. The nutrient rich compost can be directly used to increase the fertility of the ground. It will lead to substantially higher crop yields resulting in an increased food security.

Compost technology

The core of the compost solution is scientific research, chemical knowledge and practical know-how on how to set-up, maintain and operate large scale compost activities. To reach good quality compost, 4 stages are distinguished: the mesophilic phase, the thermophilic phase, the cooling phase and the curing phase. The compost starts to heat up to about 45 degrees in the first stage. This process accelerates during the thermophilic phase in which the temperatures in the compost can rise up to 60 C° for a number of weeks. As a result all dangerous organisms and pathogens such as the Samonella bacteria, Entamoeba  protozoa and Ascaris eggs are killed making the compost safe to handle. Then  -in the third stage- cooling of the pile starts after which the compost needs to mature in the fourth stage.  Once matured, the compost is ready for use.

100% hygienic  and clean

Properly designed, the compost process is sound, clean, 100% hygienic and does not attract vermin, flies, other creatures and animals.

Benefits of compost farming:

  • Increases food stability and self-reliance of local communities;
  • Low investment costs and reduces the cost for small farmers to fertilise their farmland;
  • Substantially increases farmers’ crop yields;
  • Improves fertility of the soil and closes the nutrient cycle;
  • Prevents water and subsoil pollution from human excrements;
  • Helps prevent disease by eliminating pathogenic organisms from the environment;
  • Improves public health.

What we deliver

Aqua-Aero Watersystems (AAWS) delivers a full roadmap to set-up, implement and operate durable composting activities. We are able to train and motivate large groups of farmers and others involved making them aware of the importance of closing the circle. We can help to source essential products to optimise the composting process so that the nutrient cycle is closed.

Target groups

We focus on NGOs, local governments, agricultural corporations and refugee camps. Also, we benefit  small organisations such as schools, villages and settlements having serious sanitation problems and lacking fertile soils to deliver sufficient harvest fields.