Modern mill technology and centralised processing system, an alternative for improving performance of palm oil mills in Abia State, Nigeria
Department of Agricultural Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria; New Nigerian Foundation, Lagos, Nigeria
An assessment of palm fruit processing technologies in Abia State palm oil industry was carried out in this study. About 95% of the mills were in the small scale category with capacities in the range 0.2-3.0 t/hr. Majority (80-90%) of the mills still utilized local drums for sterilisation of fruit and clarification of oil. Palm fruit digestion and oil extraction operations have been mechanised to some extent with about 90% of the mills having one device or the other to handle the operations. Hand-operated screw press was predominant (80%) in most of the mill as a device for palm oil extraction. Fruit stripping was manually carried out. Nut/fibre separation by mechanical method is adopted by small group (40%) of the mills and 90% of the mills utilize nut cracker to crack their nuts. Most of the machines being utilized are sourced locally. Maintenance of the machines was being carried out mainly when they develop faults. More than 50% of the mills have abandoned one machine or the other with breakdown of machines being the predominant reason. Most of the mills sourced fruit by purchase or served as processing centre. The extraction rate of the mills was very low and was in the range of 7-13%. Cost of production was very high when compared with other West African palm oil producing countries. Introduction of a large scale mill utilising modern technology (and centralised processing system) in form of Public Private Partnership is being proposed. Such system will have to be backed up a palm oil act as well as adequate mobilization of the farmers in order to facilitate the adoption of the system by farmers. A modern mill of 5 t/hr capacity is being planned to serve a group of farmers in a catchment area as a model. This system will make available prompt returns to the farmers to strengthen their palm fruit production capacity and guarantee high quality oil that can be exported. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Catchment area; Cost of productions; Extraction efficiencies; Extraction rate; Fruit processing; Fruit production; High quality; Improving performance; Mechanical methods; Mill technology; Modern technologies; Nigeria; Oil extraction; Oil palm; Oil yield; One-machine; Palm oil; Processing systems; Public private partnerships; Screw press; Small groups; Small scale; Agriculture; Catchments; Extraction; Fruits; Maintainability; Technology; Vegetable oils; industrial performance; industrial production; industrial technology; maintenance; milling; oil industry; public-private partnership; Abia; Nigeria; Elaeis