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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Fertilizer in a broad sense include all materials that are added to the soil to supply certain elements essential to the growth of plants.
Ancient farmers knew that the first yields on a plot of land were much better than those of subsequent years. This caused them to move to new uncultivated areas, which again showed the same pattern of reduced yields over time. Eventually, it was discovered that plant growth on a plot of land could be improved by spreading animal manure throughout the soil. Overtime, fertilizer technology became more refined. New substances that improved the growth of plants were discovered. The Egyptians are known to have added ashes from burned weeds to soil. Ancient Greek and Roman writings indicate that various animal excrements were used depending on the type of soil or plant grown. Other types of material added include sea-shell, clay, vegetable waste, salt-peter, waste from different manufacturing processes and other assorted trash.
Modern synthetic fertilizers are composed mainly of plant’s primary nutrient needed for growth, like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium compounds with secondary nutrient such as Kaolin, etc.
The use of synthetic fertilizer has significantly improved the quality and quantity of food production and availability, which results in greater need for chemical fertilizer to satisfy farmers.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Basically, the manufacture of chemical fertilizer is a high level technology that involves huge investment and continuous funding which can be compared with generation of electricity and the production of petroleum products. But, unlike the generation of electricity, the manufacture of chemical fertilizer can be done on a small and medium scale production plants.
The National Fertilizer Company of Nigeria (NAFCON) Onne in Port-Harcourt is grounded for some time now thereby resulting in the local farmers to depend only on imported fertilizer product at a relatively high cost.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
Having observed the aforementioned problems, the aims/objectives of this project work is obvious as it is geared towards finding solution to the problems by:
1. Design and fabricate a simple pan-typed granulating machine for producing granular fertilizer for small and medium scale production plant.
2. Select appropriate materials for the design and fabrication of the machine to meet demand.
3. To produce the machine with the least possible cost and maintain optimal efficiency.
4. Products produced with the machine compares with commercially available ones.
1.4 SCOPE/LIMITATION OF WORK
As a result of time constrain and financial implications, this project work has the following limitations:
1. It is not aimed at formulating the fertilizer materials.
2. It is not aimed at analyzing the various fertilizer materials to get their composition.
3. It is not aimed at carrying out the various tests on the granules produced as it is done for commercial granular fertilizer.
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