|African Agriculture: The Critical Choices (UNU, 1990, 227 pages)|
|6. Nigeria and the Ivory Coast: Commercial and export crops since 1960|
The notion of commercial and export crops is one that covers varying realities depending on the country and the historical period. In Africa, it was originally applied to tropical products that were impossible to grow in Europe but needed by the rapidly growing economies there, and those which had been introduced or developed in Europe's colonies, solely to supply the metropolitan countries. Some of these products, for example of the oil-palm, were known and used by the peoples of the colonial countries long before contact with Europeans; others, such as cocoa, were completely unknown.
The crops dealt with in this chapter have played a significant role in the economic life of Nigeria and the Ivory Coast since 1960. Cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, cotton, groundouts, rubber and sugar in both countries; coffee, bananas and pineapples in Ivory Coast only.
The Ivory Coast is little more than one-third the size of Nigeria (322,462 km2 as against 923,768 km).1 with a population, according to UN 1982 estimates. One-tenth the size of Nigeria's (8.570.000 as against 82.390.000). Despite this disparity in size and population a comparative study of the two countries seemed of value in terms of providing a perspective on their performance. Additionally, an examination of the mechanisms that have underpinned the extraordinary growth of commercial and export agriculture in the Ivory Coast provides an addition to the debate on development.