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CHAPTER ONE

1.0       INTRODUCTION

Agricultural wastes are defined as the residues from the growing and processing of raw agricultural products such as fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, dairy products, and crops. They are the non-product outputs of production and processing of agricultural products that may contain material that can benefit man but whose economic values are less than the cost of collection, transportation, and processing for beneficial use. Their composition will depend on the system and type of agricultural activities and they can be in the form of liquids, slurries, or solids. Agricultural waste otherwise called agro-waste is comprised of animal waste (manure, animal carcasses), food processing waste (only 20% of maize is canned and 80% is waste), crop waste (corn stalks, sugarcane bagasse, drops and culls from fruits and vegetables, prunings) and hazardous and toxic agricultural waste (pesticides, insecticides and herbicides, etc). Estimates of agricultural waste arising are rare, but they are generally thought of as contributing a significant proportion of the total waste matter in the developed world. Expanding agricultural production has naturally resulted in increased quantities of livestock waste, agricultural crop residues and agro-industrial by-products. There is likely to be a significant increase in agricultural wastes globally if developing countries continue to intensify farming systems. It is estimated that about 998 million tonnes of agricultural waste is produced yearly. Organic wastes can amount up to 80 percent of the total solid wastes generated in any farm of which manure production can amount up to 5.27 kg/day/1000 kg live weight, on a wet weight basis.

There is growing interest in the pulping of non wood plants most especially, agricultural residues globally (Sridach, 2010). Presently, non wood raw materials account for 10% of the total pulp and paper produced world wide (El-Sakhawy et al., 1996). This is mostly made up of 18% baggase, 14% bamboo and 11% others. The need to promote the use of agricultural residues is being influenced by increasing agricultural production and productivity globally as man continually sought to improve the quality of life by transforming nature to provide more food, better living conditions and long life (Hall et al, 2009). Agricultural mechanisation and technology has helped to accomplish this transformation. It has however left a progression of environmental problems at its wake. The problems associated with farm waste management are numerous and can escalate into disastrous situations, resulting from improper waste management. Lack of adequate information on quantity of waste generated, handling, treatment and disposal have been constraining industrial utilization of agricultural waste in Nigeria where farmers in most parts of the country have concentrated on intensive production of field crops which annually leads to generation of large quantities of vegetal waste. The type of waste generated, their quantity and characteristics have not been studied in detail in Nigeria. However, based on the distribution of the country into ecological zones through climatic considerations, coupled with the distinct characteristics of each zone, the major types of agricultural waste generated that can be of use in the paper industry locally are presented in Table 1. From the table, it can be observed that many types of straws are available in Nigeria as byproducts of agriculture and thus can be potentially used as sources of raw material for the pulp and paper industry. In view of the pulpability of straws, agrowaste pulping facilities can be established in states shown in Table 2. In most cases, the by-products are cheaper than wood. As most of the straws produced locally are byproducts of agricultural produce, the total cost of production will be shared with the main crop. In most cases, the cost of agricultural residues to the paper mills will be the cost of transporting the residues to the mill.


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