Cocoa Production Trends in South-West, Nigeria, !950-2010
Cocoa crop production as an aspect of agriculture propelled significant socio-economic development in South-West Nigeria in the first half of the 20th century. It precipitated robust economic growth in Nigeria between the 1950s and 1960s. This thesis addresses the research needs for a spatio-temporal analysis of the trends in cocoa production in south-west Nigeria in the pre and post-oil boom eras. It examines the socio-economic impact of cocoa production on the well-being of the farming communities, revenue generation for the producing states and Nigeria’s capital formation. This was carried out with a view to understanding the spatiotemporal changes that shaped cocoa production volume in the study periods, particularly since the 1970s and especially since the 1980s. The study further examined how various agricultural policies affected the sustainability of the Nigerian cocoa industry, particularly in the post-oil boom era. Data on cocoa production and the socio-economic variables of the farmers and farming communities were obtained through structured questionnaires and focus group discussions. Information was equally obtained from the annual abstract of statistics and periodic bulletins of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) amongst others. The data were processed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The specific analytical procedures employed include Trend analysis, descriptive statistics, independent t-test, factor analysis and regression analysis. The findings show that, although, cocoa production reached its peak in the pre-oil boom era (1950- 1970), the revenue from cocoa production was relatively insignificant when compared with the revenue from crude oil production since the 1970s. However, increasing urbanization and prospects for less excruciating white collar jobs and city life has led to rural-urban migration of cocoa farmers from the cocoa belt of South- West Nigeria. This has negatively impacted production and has constituted serious challenge for the growth of Nigeria’s cocoa industry as well as the socio-economic wellbeing of rural agrarian communities in the region. Also, lack of adequate financing has negatively affected the provision of basic inputs such as cocoa seedlings and fertilizers amongst others. Access to loans, cocoa storage facilities and the old age of trees are problems which have also negatively impacted on revenue and have concomitantly affected the provision of social amenities with dire consequences for the livelihoods of the farming communities. Furthermore, the failure of numerous policies designed to revive cocoa production further impacted negatively on productivity.