In Palestine, open dumping and/or burning the waste, including agricultural waste, are prevalent practices resulting in emitting leachate and acidifying greenhouse gases. Composting the agricultural waste can reduce emissions and provide ‘compost’ as an organic fertilizer and soil amendment. This, in turn, contributes to food security, sustainable agriculture, and reduction in energy inputs used for production of synthetic fertilizers. Nevertheless, it has not been implemented at the Palestinian national level. To develop a local marketing strategy for compost, this study views a need to identify farmers’ perceptions and willingness of compost production and use in agriculture, and examine various socioeconomic, agricultural, and individual factors shaping them. The case of Wadi al-Far`a watershed (WFW) is investigated, where farmers practice inappropriate waste disposal and overuse of agrochemicals. A semi-structured questionnaire is administered to 409 farmers through face-to-face interviews. Descriptive statistics, bivariate analyses, Chi-square test, and binary logistic regression are used for data analysis.
High acceptance level (84%) is disclosed among farmers in WFW for the hypothetical idea of producing and using compost. Farmers also have high, yet lower, willingness level (63.6%) of the more salient option of producing compost themselves and using it in agriculture. Tenure systems, large cultivated areas, rain-fed irrigation, and lack of access to training sessions inhibit farmers’ acceptance of the idea of compost production (overall p-value = 0.000). Large cultivated areas and rain-fed irrigation is also associated with farmers’ unwillingness to produce compost, besides high household monthly income, animal or mixed animal-plant farming, experience in compost production, and use of pesticides (overall p-value = 0.000). Subsidizing raw manure price and costs of manure production and transportation as well as providing practice-based extension services will enhance farmers’ willingness to produce and use compost.
Suha al-Madbouh graduated with the degree of Doctor of Public Health (Dr.PH) from Bielefeld University/ Germany in 2014. She obtained her master degree in Environmental Health from the American University of Beirut (AUB)/ Lebanon in 2006. Currently, she is a post-doctoral researcher, lecturer, and academic supervisor at the Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics (ITT)/ Cologne University of Applied Sciences. She is also on-call consultant and evaluator for the environmental and health research proposals at the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC) in Ramallah City, Palestine. Additionally, she is a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Trainer and conducted different SEA training courses in the MENA region, including Palestine and Jordan. Previously, she worked as a project coordinator for different health and environmental projects in the West Bank implemented by the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, Ramallah Municipality, Al-Quds University, and Medecins Du Monde Greece.