The dynamics of agricultural development in Nigeria : a critical assessment of radical political economy perspectives and a case study of groundnut producers.
This thesis presents a reassessment of historical change
in Nigeria and its relationship with economic performance.
Situated within the context of recent debates on the country's
agricultural 'crisis', it finds the contributions structured
within the political economy tradition to be analytically
deficient and factually inaccurate. Using Marx's method of
historical analysis, a more coherent and e£fective study of
social change is presented which refutes the stagnationist
slant evident in Radical Political Economy perspectives.
Transformations in the structure of property relations and the
level of productive forces are highlighted in various
contexts, as well as the contradictions they embody.
A case study, based on extensive fieldwork is used to
assess the implications of the depicted changes for rural
reproduction. A process of social differentiation is revealed
which confers cumulative advantages to a segment of the
peasantry. The sources of this differentiation and the
relationship it expresses and generates, linked to wider
histc>rical processes, together portendithe emergence of
capitali~m. The dynamic consequences of capitalist
transformation in Nigerian agriculture- the potential provided
for accumulation and productivity increases, are however found
to be retarded by powerful forces exogenous to the agrarian
An assessment of the macroeconomic contours of capitalist
development in Nigerian agriculture identifies the
constraining features to agricultural growth to consist mainly
of internal factors aqd policies, rather than structural
constraints deriving from international trade relations. A
brief examination of contemporary debates on economic policy
reforms is found to provide an insufficient basis for
unguarded optimism regarding the potential for long-term