We studied acceptance of a urine-based fertilizer product using a mail survey of 467 Swiss farmers. We distinguished among four production types: organic or IP farming, and with or without vegetable production. Considering that the idea of urine-based fertilizers is new, acceptance among the answering farmers was surprisingly high, with 57% explicitly stating that they thought it was a good or very good idea, and 42% willing to purchase such a product. The farmers of different production types did not differ strongly in their attitude towards urine-based fertilizers. Especially IP and vegetable farmers, who purchased additional fertilizers anyway, seem willing to accept urine-based fertilizers, hereby preferring a grainy, odorless ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Absolutely essential is a hazard-free product: 30% of all farmers had concerns regarding micropollutants. Based on fertilizer data, we demonstrate an existing demand for the nutrients N, P, and K in Switzerland, which could be partially substituted by a recycled urine product. Finally, we discuss methodological requirements of social science surveys. To obtain representative data on an entire population in a mail survey, multiple contacts with respondents are necessary. We argue that information and participation of stakeholders at an early stage is essential for successful technology transfer.
How farmers in Switzerland perceive fertilizers from recycled anthropogenic nutrients (urine)
J. Lienert, M. Haller, A. Berner, M. Stauffacher, T.A. Larsen; How farmers in Switzerland perceive fertilizers from recycled anthropogenic nutrients (urine). Water Sci Technol 1 July 2003; 48 (1): 47–56. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2003.0013
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