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1.1       Background to the Study

            African Locust Bean (Parkia biglobosa) belongs to the family of leguminoseae family and is named after Mungo Park (Adewumi and Igbeka 1993).  African locust bean is mainly found and grows in the West African savannah region of the world (Campbell, 1980).  African diet has to contain a valid amount of protein, so as to fight malnutrition, which is major problem in some parts of Africa. Leguminous plants generally provide protein such has beans, cowpea and including African locust beans. African locust bean condiment as age long communal heritage in African families (Gbadamosi, 2002) such that it has been in continuous production locally through various crude process.  African locust bean fruit is actually a pod which turn brownish, as maturity sets in. The fruit contains 20 seeds with its length and breadth between 30-40 cm and 2-3 cm respectively (Campbell, 1980).

            African locust bean pods are harvested by climbing the tree and using hooks, the pods are decorticated manually by hands removing the seeds from the pods which is a tedious process, after manual removal of the seeds by winnowing, and washing is done to remove the pulps away from the seeds with perforated calabash or wooden basket by submerged in a gentle flowing river (Oloko and Agbetoye, 2006).

            African locust bean is actually a therapeutic material but the most commonly used parts involved bark, leaves and roots (Vidjinnangni, 2016). It has also been said to have some benefit for hypertensive and diabetic patients.

1.2       Statement of the Problem.

            During the production of the condiment, local crude process are employed, since major producers are not learned or educated, such has caused inability to operate the fabricated machines; and the crude process could cause contamination of the condiment produced which makes it unhealthy for the society. Another important factor to consider is the economic challenges faced by the rural community since majority are poor and could not afford the machines designed for the production of the condiment. The high cost strides from the components used in making the machine like the electric motor or diesel or petrol engine for power without considering pressure pot which some cannot afford. The problem with majority of the machines designed is that they are designed for a specific purpose of producing the condiment which means is not a generic machine for other purposes, so that when the economic value is considered in the long term it is not important because majority are low income farmers. Low income farmers has not been taking into consideration for the majority of the machine designed for condiment production such that an affordable machine which has low operational cost should be designed. Boiling is an important process in separating the husk from the kernel, which takes place earlier in the stage of the condiment production. Boiling in the crude process takes up to 8-12hrs which has been compressed to about 20-30 minutes but still follows the conventional way of production. It is necessary to find an alternative way to produce and process African locust bean.

1.3       Aims and Objectives of the study.

            The main objective of this study is to develop a locust bean dehuller.

  • Produce a locust bean dehulling machine.
  • Test the decortication efficiency of the machine.

1.4       Justification.

            There is need for better alternative method of processing African locust beans, due to many uses. The study of this research will allow the increase in the local production of condiment,

Since the major problem facing the local production of locust bean condiment is dehulling. It has been repeated that the current local method of producing locust bean is unhygienic. The successful completion of this project will help small to medium farmers to produce a more acceptable condiment.

1.5       Scope of Study.

            The scope of this research is to design a locust bean dehulling machine and test its efficiency for a more acceptable locust bean condiment.