More than Chicken Sh*t


Phosphorus is essential for food production, but the global supplies are dwindling and the prices are rising. This project investigates the innovative solutions developed in Malawi to tap into its own local phosphorus resources.

  • €22,255 Budget in Euros
  • 2018 Final release date
  • 10 Round winner
  • 1 Location
  • 5 Durations in months

Nothing can grow without phosphorus, so access to phosphorus fertilizer is essential for food security. But over 80% of global phosphorus reserves are concentrated in only five countries (Morocco, China, Algeria, Syria & South Africa) and demand for phosphorus fertilizers will surpass supply this century, possibly as early as 2035. And while rich countries can still handle scarcity and rising prices, a small, landlocked and poor country like Malawi has to come up with new solutions in order to develop their own sustainable agricultural system and feed their people. And they do. And in the process become a potential leader in nutrient recovery, a field were many industrialised countries are still lagging far behind.

We will tell the story from the perspective of different stakeholders, who all have vital interest in the phosphorus question: The smallholder farmers who are struggling to pay for fertilizer and to secure their livelihood, the local fertilizer manufacturer who had recent success with producing the country’s first commercial chicken manure fertilizer, the scientists at the local Polytechnic who push for ways to integrate sustainable phosphorus management into urban decision making and plannin, and many others.


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