Cash Crops Essay

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Africans and the Creation of Cash Crops

Africans were heavily involved in the creation of cash crops. Stock claims that in a significant portion of tropical Africa, small-scale peasant farmers predominated in the production of cash crops. (196). For instance, in Senegal and Northern Nigeria, groundnut farming accounted for the majority of the output of cash crops. On the other hand, coffee was grown in Belgium Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Tanganyika, Angola, and Uganda. South Western Nigeria and Gold Coast's main cash product export was cocoa. Contrary to other crops like cocoa, cotton required a lot of work and was inexpensive. (Mulvaney 64). Under duress from Europeans, African farmers grew the crop to supply raw materials for the French textile industry. For example, Europeans made production of cotton compulsory in some parts of Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, and the Central African Republic.

Challenges Faced by African Farmers

However, African farmers did not benefit much from cash-crop production. For example, most of African farmers only got less than 40% of profits from their cash crops. The majority of them also lost access to other land for food crop production (Stock 195-197). Therefore, successful production of cash-crop did not mean extensive rural prosperity. Moreover, although some African peasant farmers still grew their foodstuff, they mostly relied on imported European manufactured metals goods and cloth which undermined their industrial self-sufficiency. Notably, low-priced food-crop such as rice from French and China was imported into French West African colonies and sold at prices (Stock 196-197). In turn, they interfered with local food production.

Impact on African Development

Africans' success in the production of cash-crops distorted African development for future years in various ways. First thing, Africans started cash-crop farming to get tax their colonies required them to pay (Stock 196). Such pressure made Africans depended on imported food crops. However, they could not afford prices required for imports and cost of exportation. As a result, they became poor. Moreover, European merchants dominated markets at the cost. Consequently, prices paid to African cash-crop producers were low. When prices of manufactured goods in Europe increased, European merchants passed the cost to African farmers (Stock 196-197). Therefore, Africans received less for what they produced and paid more for goods they imported or bought. The situations forced Africans to bring more land under cash-crop production and neglected food production (Mulvaney 64-65). The soil became increasingly exhausted and famine struck during drought. As evident, cash-crop production made Africans dependent on other continents for basic foodstuffs.

Works Cited

Mulvaney, Dustin. “Green Food: An A-to-Z Guide.” Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Pub, 2011. Print.

Stock, F. Robert. “Africa South of the Sahara: A Geographical Interpretation.” New York: Guilford Press, 2013. Print.

June 26, 2023


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World History Farmer Crops

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