The Nigerian Cocoa Farmers and the Fluctuations in World Cocoa Prices in the 1930s
The dynamics of the international economy, such as the 1930s fluctuations in the prices of primary commodities on the world market, affected Nigerian economy and society a great deal. Of all the commodity producers in Nigeria, cocoa farmers were the worst hit. This is because cocoa farmers depended on the world market for sale of their produce and were thus subordinated to the vagaries of the international economy. This study examines the Nigerian cocoa industry within the deglobalized capitalism of the interwar years in order to show why and how the fluctuations in commodity prices of the 1930s affected cocoa producers in Nigeria. Archival materials provided data for this historical reconstruction. The 1930s global fluctuations in the prices of primary commodities gave rise to wide fluctuation in cocoa farmers’ incomes and fall in their purchasing power. There was also increase in cocoa tax regime, resulting in cocoa farmers’ inability to, among other things, send their children to school and pay their fees and tax easily. The study is a contribution to knowledge on cocoa industry, commodity price fluctuations, and inter-war years.
Key Words: Cocoa, Price Fluctuations, world market