Economic Crisis during the second World War and the Response of the Market Traders in Ibadan, Nigeria
AbstractThe soaring prices of imported goods that accompanied the Second World War led to the increase in demand for locally made goods, indigenous industries like the textile and tinsmith therefore thrived. However, the most severe problem created by the Second World War was the acute shortage of food all over Nigeria due to the fact that promotion of export crops had already attracted farmers away from food crop production. This phenomenon was badly felt in Lagos, Ibadan and other major producing centres were not left out. This shortage consequently resulted in high prices of food. The Colonial government tried to rescue the situation by restricting the movement of foodstuffs from producing centres and pegging the prices of such commodities. But, rather than putting an end to the ugly situation, the attempt aggravated it. The market women in Ibadan viewed the colonial government’s intervention as undermining their economic position. Traditionally, they controlled the distribution of foodstuffs and had established a very efficient system of marketing and pricing. They responded by ignoring the scheme and devising a method of selling their goods at a price that guaranteed their own profit. The market traders experience therefore provided an important opportunity to explore women’s relationship to the Colonial State.
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