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PROJECT TOPIC: FOOD PRODUCTION IN NIGERIA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR, 1939-45

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ABSTRACT

The Second World War and its effects are major factors to reckon with in history. It was an event which started with an attempt by the Axis powers to control the affairs of Europe, the reactions of the Allied powers and the eventual outbreak of the war. Consequently, much has been written about it, although in some cases, information about the roles played by Africans in the war efforts is incomplete. This study deals with food production in Nigeria during the Second World War from 1939 to 1945. Nigeria, like many other countries felt the pangs of this enormous destructive conflict, particularly with regard to scarcity of food items. The aim is to present the neglected contributions of the local farmers and traders in Nigeria to the British and Allies’ war efforts. The work examines the attempts made by the colonial authorities in Nigeria to restrict and control the production and sale of food items and, the responses of the indigenous people. The study is a contribution to the African side of the story focusing on food production in the study area. The research adopts both qualitative and quantitative methods. By using the qualitative research method, the work arrives at a holistic narrative on the production of food items in Nigeria during the period of Second World War. Also, by adopting the quantitative research method, data on food production in Nigeria during the period under study is analyzed. The study relies on archival sources, oral interviews, government publications and relevant secondary sources. Attempt is made to interpret, analyze data obtained and, present results thematically and chronologically. In the final analysis, the work argues that though colonial agricultural policy was a major factor of food crisis in the country, the role played by indigenous farmers and traders, to a very large extent, contributed to the successful prosecution of the war in favor of the Allied forces. The people were resilient and hardworking even in the face of hunger and food scarcity. No doubt, this work provides a foundation on which to assess food production in Nigeria during the period of the Second World War as well as further research on indigeon contributions to the successful prosecution of the Second World War yet to be studied.


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