Colonial Capitalism and the Structure of the Nigerian Cocoa Marketing Board, 1947-1960
Colonial capitalism had far-reaching consequences on the income and earnings of Nigerian cocoa farmers and the environment in the first five decades of the twentieth century. Although literature exists on the history and contributions of cocoa to capital formation and economic development in Nigeria, very little or nothing is known of the challenges and bottlenecks encountered by the cocoa producers in the production and exports of their cocoa throughout the period of colonial capitalism in Nigeria. This paper examines the genesis, structure and impact of what became popular as the largest statutory commodity export monopolies in the British Colonial Empire - the Cocoa Marketing Board - which was inaugurated in 1947. Through a careful diagnosis of the factors that aided the establishment of the Commodity Marketing Board, the paper argues that the Nigerian Cocoa Marketing Board was used to serve various interests and purposes, which hardly benefited the producers. Rather, the board was a tool of oppression and further exploitation of farmers through rapacious taxes, price regulations and unfavourable grading policies. Indeed, the colonial government found the cocoa board a ready-made instrument for taxing farmers, enriching colonial treasury, and financing anti-decolonization activities.