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A centrifugal cleaning machine for fonio (Acha) was developed. The machine consists of four buckets, the bucket holders, the rotor, the shaft, top and bottom plates, frames, bearings and pulleys and a 3h.p electric motor. It was tested using 2kg of fonio (Acha) and powered by the electric motor. The tested result shows that the cleaning efficiency and percentage throughout were 89% and 93% respectively while the total cost of constructing the machine was N56,430. It is therefore recommended that a complete evaluation of the machine should be carried out.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Digitaria Exilis, referred to as "Findi" in areas of Africa, such as "The Gambia", with English common name of "White Fonio, Fonio Millet, Hungry Rice and Fonio Rice" (Jideani et al, 1996). Fonio specie belongs to the Poaceae family of Panicoideae, tribe of Paniceae and the Genus Digitaria Haller (Kone, 2009). It is categorized into two types, White Fonio (Fonio) and Black Fonio (Iburu) and cultivated throughout West Africa and the India and can also provide nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable use of the land (Cruz, 2004).
The growing popularity of whole grains such as Fonio has opened up opportunities which are mostly consumed whole perhaps because of their small size (Jideani and Akingbala, 1993). Whole grains such as Fonio is processed (e.g. Cleaned, Dehulled, Cracked etc.), where the fractions are present in the right proportion and free from foreign materials after been processed through traditional or modern techniques (Jones, 2009).
Despite its ancient heritage and widespread importance, knowledge of Fonio's evolution, origin, distribution and genetic diversity as a crop has received but a fraction of the attention accorded to Sorghum, Pearl Millet and Maize considering its importance in the moral community and its potential for the food supply (Jideani et al, 1996).
Part of the reason for the neglect of Fonio is that the plantbhas been misunderstood by scientists and decision makers where in English, it has been referred to as "Hungry Rice", a misleading little about the crop or the hires of those who used it (Jideani et al, 1996). However, these insiders, "the locals" were harvesting Fonio not because they were hungry, but because they liked the taste; indeed they considered the grain exotic, and in some places they reserved it particularly for Chiefs, Royalty and special occasions. Moreover, it is still held with such esteem that some communities continue to use it in ancestor worship (Jideani et al, 1996).
The cleaning systems and methods for Fonio is unique because of its shape and size thereby presenting a major departure from the existing cleaning approaches (Randolph, 1989). Traditionally, the cleaning of Fonio is accomplished by pounding using a pestle and mortar (Philip and Itodo, 2006). The output of this method is low, accompanied with dirt, sand and other foreign materials which modern techniques like centrifugal cleaning can address (Vietmeyer, 1996).
Centrifugal cleaning is a modern technique used for the removal of contaminants and foreign materials through the application of centrifugal force of rotation and shaking. The grains are separated from their husk or from foreign materials like sand, stones, chaffs etc., when subjected to centrifugal force (Mohsenin, 1986). The centrifugal cleaning of Fonio will sufficiently address cleaning problems related to Fonio as well as other grains.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Some of the problems associated with the cleaning of Fonio includes: the high percentage of broken grains after cleaning, the inefficiency in the removal of dirt, sand and other foreign materials, and the lack of performance evaluation of previous cleaning of Fonio systems to ascertain their level of efficiency (Tokan et al, 2012).
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this project is to develop a centrifugal cleaning machine for Fonio.
The objectives of carrying out this project therefore are:
a. To determine some of the physical and mechanical properties of Fonio and to design the basic engineering, component and construct a centrifugal cleaning machine for Fonio; and also
b. To test and carryout basic evaluation of the centrifugal cleaning machine after development.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Some of benefits to be derived from this project is to improve the timeliness of cleaning Fonio, to provide an alternative method for cleaning Fonio, to retain the quality of Fonio after cleaning and to produce enough Fonio to meet the growing demands for its products (Philip and Itodo, 2006).
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this project is to develop a centrifugal cleaning machine for Fonio.
1.6 JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
Over the years centrifugal cleaning has to not been recognized for many cleaning tasks, but lends it self to a broad range of applications and is compatible with various cleaning systems and agents thereby overcoming the basic limitations of effective cleaning (Steinacker et al, 2005).
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