The Dynamics of Palm Kernels Marketing in Igala Area, Nigeria 1920-1956

Abah Danladi, Victor Chijioke Nwosumba


This paper examines the development of palm kernel marketing initiatives in Igala land, from 1920-1956. It notes that the British trade policies in Igala land were quite rapacious, exploitative, and suffocating to the native producers of palm kernels. Although the native producers who were mostly women, produced palm kernels in large quantities, they were unfortunately hapless, and unable to determine the prices or even bargain properly with the buyers of their produce. This was because; palm kernel prices were fixated by British trading firms. The prices of palm kernels were skewed in favor of the trading firms and usually fluctuated. Reasons for fluctuations in prices were hardly explained to the native palm kernel producers and even when they are being poorly informed by buying agents, they had no powers or choices to influence or determine favorable prices for the produce. The trading firms had buying stations strategically located in different parts of Igala land. The trading companies in turn employed licensed buying agents who penetrated remote areas to buy palm kernels from the natives. the licensed buying agents were given money by their European employers and in some cases bicycles to ease their movement and transportation of palm kernels from the interior hinterland of Igala land., in fact, this study discovers that the activities of the indigenous licensed buying agents further exploited the women and emasculated them by reducing the economic powers of the producers as they further paid lesser prices for palm kernels to natives in rural Igala land.  The introduction of taxes by the colonial authority meant that the natives must continually produce cash crops in order to pay. Thus, this paper argues that the British Palm kernel marketing initiatives provided the opacity and conduit pipes for the smooth economic exploitations of the Igala land of Nigeria in the 20th century. The research adopted the multidisciplinary approach while primary sources of data (archival and oral interviews) synthesized with extant literature were utilized.



palm kernels, colonial rule, marketing, Igala

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