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TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.1 Background of Study
1.2 Statement of Problems
1.3 Research Objectives
1.4 Research Question
1.5 Research Hypothesis
1.6 Scope of Study
1.7 Significance of study
1.8 Limitation of study
1.9 Definition of terms
2.0 Literature Review
3.0 Research methodology
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Population of study
3.3 Sampling Design and Procedure
3.4 Data Collection Instrument
3.5 Administration of Data Collection Instrument
3.6 Methods of data analysis
4.0 Data Presentation and Analysis
4.1 Data Presentation
4.2 Test of Hypothesis
5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Oil palm, Elaeis guineensis is believed to be indigenous to West Africa. In Africa, wild palm groves are found mainly in a 300 to 500 hundred kilometers wide Western coastal belt stretching from Gambia to Angola and extending inland toward the East as far as the equator in the region of the great Lakes (Omereji, 2005). Oil palm is a perennial plant which belongs to the family palmae, subfamily cocoideae and are of three basic types (varieties) namely the dura type, tenera type and the pisifera type, (Opeke, 2005). Oil palm is a low land crop although it can grow well up to an altitude of 900m. It has fibrous root system and prefers deep fertile well-drained soil; require plenty sunshine, thus productivity reduces drastically when subjected to areas with excessive humidity. The oil palm has large compound leaves (fronds), unbranched stem, fibrous root system, the oil palm fruit is a sessile drupe and consist of a leathery exocarp, fleshy oily mesocarp and a hard endocarp (shell) which encloses the kernel (seed) (Udoh, et. al., 2005).
A well ripe oil palm fruit changes in colour of the fruit. The changes in colour at ripening which may be from black to red, green to reddish orange with greenish tip, from white to pale yellow, depends on the type of oil palm fruit.
(Udoh, et. al., 2005) also discussed various agronomic practices involved in oil palm production including:- nursery establishment, time of planting, nursery maintenance, transplanting, pest and disease control, fertilizer application, harvesting and processing of palm fruits. However this research will dwell much on the processing of the oil palm fruit.
PROCESSING OF OIL PALM FRUITS Oil palm fruits, after harvest are processed into various products including: – palm oil, palm kernel, fibre, kernel cake, shell etc. There are basically two methods of oil palm fruit processing as identified by Udoh et. al., 2005. (i) Traditional Method: – This include • Collection of fruits bunches from the field. • Cutting of bunches into pieces (Spikelets). • Fermentation • Stripping to separate out clean fruits. • Boiling/sterilization of fruits in large drums. • Milling/pounding in mortars or buried drums. • Separation by hand to remove nuts from the oily fibres (mesocarp). • Pressing of fibres to remove oil. • Clarification to separate oil from water and dirt. • Storage/marketing of products.
(ii) Modern method of processing This involves:- • Sterilization: – This can be carried out in pots, drum or sterilization chambers. It is achieved by boiling to soften the fruits. It also disinfects the fruits and inhibits the action of lipophytic enzymes.
• Stripping: The removal of fruit from sterilized or quartered bunches. The stripped fruits are reboiled for about 30 – 45 minutes before milling.
• Digesting (Milling of Fruits): The pounding of sterilized fruits to separate the mesocarp from the kernel (de-pulping).
• Pressing or Extraction: The pounded mass is then loaded into a press and oil is extracted with the use of a screw press, hydraulic press or centrifugal press.
• Clarification: This is the removal of water from the oil. It is achieved by boiling and skimming. • Storage in Containers and Marketing