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TRADE OF NIGERIA WITH THE UNITED STATES AND COUNTRIES OTHER THAN
UNITED KINGDOM AND POSSESSIONS
In imports the American goods were far in excess of those from all other foreign countries together, but exports to the United States have been falling behind since 1919. The weakness in American import trade was the failure to obtain return cargoes of raw products from Nigeria. The principal items of trade between the United States and Nigeria in 1920 and 1921 were as follows:
The principal imports from the United States are leaf tobacco and kerosene, which will probably be the nucleus of trade between the two countries for some time to come. By comparing the various tables one can see that the United States has lost some of the trade that was developed during the war. However, with improved shipping facilities during 1923 and 1924, an improvement can be expected in the American import trade with Nigeria.
COMMUNICATIONS The development of Nigerian trade has been dependent on the opening of communications between the interior and the coast. Nigerian Railway was constructed and is now operated by the government. The western division is made up of a main line running from Port Lagos to Kano near the northern boundary, a distance of 705 miles. Important towns on this line are Ibadan, Abeokuta, Llorin, Oshogbo, Kaduna, and Zaria, with a bridge over the Niger
River at Jebba. This main line is fed by two branch lines; one of which extends 111 miles from Minna to the port of Baro on the Niger, and the other, 143 miles from Zaria to Bukuru, in the center of a mining area. Express train service is maintained between Lagos and Kano, consuming 43 hours for the trip.
The eastern division consists of one line from Port Harcourt on the Bonny estuary to Enugu in the Udi coal fields, a distance of 151 miles. At present plans are under consideration for the extension of this line 417 miles northward, crossing the Benue River at Abinsi and connecting with the western division at Kaduna, and also a 42-mile extension from the western branch at Bukuru to a point on the above extension. A section, 141 miles in length, of the first extension is due to open during 1924, thus giving direct connection from Port Harcourt to Makurdi on the Benue River.
Several reductions in rates were put in operation during the course of 1922–23, and as a result the passenger revenue decreased though the number of passengers increased. General results for the years 1921-22 and 1922–23 are shown in the following table:
According to a recent press notice,
capital expenditure was increased to £12,872,296 during 1923-24. Gross receipts for the year were £1,653,115, which is a new record, and net receipts were £751,067, also a new high record. The proportion of working expenditure to gross receipts was 54.57. During the year 1,859,961 passengers and 459,051 tons of merchandise, exclusive of construction materials and government traffic, were carried.
In addition, the Niger River and its chief tributary, the Benue, are great natural highways. The Niger is navigable by steamers of 10-foot draft as far as Jebba from July to October and the rest of the year by barges and stern-wheel steamers. There is also a service of motor lorries between such centers as Ibadan, Oyo, Ogbomosho, Oshogbo, Llesha, Bukuru, and Ropp.
The government has constructed a number of wide motor roads, which may be used by light cars the year round and by heavy lorries during the dry season. The natives are beginning to buy bicycles and in some few instances motor cars, imports of which increased from 105 in 1917 to 310 in 1923. Motor cycle imports rose from 52 in 1917 to 352 in 1923, and bicycles from 1,763 in 1917 to 6,369 in 1923. The majority of these came from the United States and the United Kingdom. There are about 10,000 miles of telegraph wires, and the system is connected with the system of French Dahomey There are also several miles of telephone wires, and a wireless station has been established at Lagos.
The principal ports are Lagos and Port Harcourt. Shipping facilities to Nigeria are offered mainly by Elder Dempster & Co., though the vessels of the Bromport Steamship Co., the Bull West African Line, Chargeurs Reunis Steamship Co., Holland West African Line, Société Navale de l'Ouest, Deutscher Afrika-Dienst, John Holt & Co., and the Swedish West Africa Line are often seen in Nigerian ports. Sailings from New York and New Orleans are advertised by the Elder Dempster and Bull Lines. In addition, a great deal of coastal and river trade is carried on in canoes. During 1922 there were 399 steamships entered at the port of Lagos. This port has the principal wharfage and warehouse accommodations, though Port Harcourt has been developed considerably during the last two years. The trade importance of the port of Lagos in 1919 is shown by the tonnage entered and cleared, which was 663,000 tons, as compared to 89,000 tons for Bakuru, 52,000 tons for Opobo, 54,000 tons for Calabar, and 48,000 tons for Port Harcourt. Lack of detailed statistics for more recent years makes it impossible to show the rise of Port Harcourt to the position of second in importance. With the further extension of the Port Harcourt-Udi Railway, considerable Lagos trade will be diverted to Port Harcourt.
Most of the shipping entering and clearing at Nigerian ports is under British registry, as shown by the following table:
In 1923 other nationals carried trade as follows: German, 101,035 tons; Dutch, 71,423 ton3; American, 64,989 tons; French, 62,035 tons; Italian, 34,436 tons; Swedish, 24,538 tons; Norwegian, 7,856 tons; and Portuguese, 120 tons.
The Nigerian climate on the whole is not healthy for white population, except perhaps on the high plateau. The seasons depend more on the rainfall than on temperature. The dry season in the north lasts from October to April, and in the south from November to March. The dry season brings with it the “harmattan," a dry northeasterly wind accompanied by cold nights and hot days. The lowest mean temperature is in July and August, and the highest mean, as a rule, in March and April. At the end of the dry season a number of tornadoes usually precede the beginning of the rainy season. The average rainfall at Bonny on the coast is 163 inches, while at Lokoja at the juncture of the Niger and Benue Rivers it is only 48 inches. In the northwest at Sokoto the average is 25 inches, practically all of which falls during the period from May to September.
Nigeria is divided into four zones, varying a great deal in physical make-up. The first belt is a strip from 10 to 60 miles wide, largely composed of swamps and mangrove forests. It follows the coast line, and thus includes the delta of the Niger and is crossed by a large
number of rivers and creeks. The second belt is from 50 to 100 miles wide, largely covered by dense tropical forests very rich in oil-palm trees, which constitute the chief wealth of the colony. The third belt is of more open, parklike land which gradually merges into open country covered with high grass. The last belt is a rolling plateau of over 2,000 to 6,000 feet in altitude, broken by occasional hills of granite and sandstone, covered in part by thin forests, but more open to the north, until at the border are the first sandy stretches of the Sahara Desert.
AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES As already indicated by the trade statistics the economic life of Nigeria centers around its vast natural resources, the chief of which are the large land areas suitable for the growth of the palm tree. Nigeria has entered upon a period of commercial expansion, the limiting factor in which is transportation. There are large untouched areas of oil-bearing palm trees and shea-nut trees, the fruit of which rot for want of collection, due principally to inaccessibility, but as new railways are built ever-increasing quantities of produce are being placed on world markets. Large areas of agricultural land are available for farming but the native farmer has adopted shifting methods, rarely cultivating the same plot for more than a few years. The methods employed have been very crude, though in recent years some sections have adopted more modern methods.
The oil palm furnishes products of great commercial value and is one of the principal economic resources of tropical Africa. A type known as
eloesis guineensis” is found generally throughout the districts bordering the Gulf of Guinea. The product is exported in the form of kernels or as oil. Exports of palm oil in 1914 were 1,450,622 hundredweights, valued at £4,245,893, and in 1923 they were 1,978,140 hundredweights. The 1919 exports were the largest on record and 1923 shipments were the second largest. Exports of palm kernels reached 162,451 tons in 1914, valued at £2,541,150; increased to 216,913 tons in 1919, valued at £4,947,995; and to 223,074 tons in 1923. The export of both palm oil and palm kernels has fluctuated considerably, largely due to the fluctuation of prices in world markets. In 1922 the United Kingdom took 94 per cent of the palm kernels and 72 per cent of the palm oil. The United States took 20 per cent of the palm oil in 1922.
CACAO Cacao has long been one of the principal items in Nigerian trade. The trees thrive in the Southern Provinces, which furnish the greater portion of exports. The recent demand for West African cacao has greatly encouraged plantings. The plantations near Agege in the Western Province did not do so well as those nearer the AboekutaIbadan boundary. In the Eastern Province the climatic conditions are more favorable and plantings were made near Old Calabar, Itu, and Eket. In 1907 exports amounted to 2,089,225 pounds, valued at £47,840; in 1917 to 34,590,192 pounds, valued at £499,004; in 1919 to 57,593,200 pounds, valued at £1,067,675; and in 1923 to 73,510,080 pounds.
In recent years the demand for peanuts, also known as groundnuts, in world markets has stimulated their growth throughout Nigeria. The largest areas suitable for their cultivation lie in the Northern Provinces, around Bida, Kano, and Zaria. Considerable quantities are now being produced in the Southern Provinces as well. Exports in 1916 were 50,368 tons, valued at £473,653; in 1919 they aggregated 39,334 tons, valued at £698,702; and in 1923 amounted to 22,887 tons. Of the 1922 peanut shipments, France took 30 per eent; Germany, 28 per cent; and the United Kingdom, 27 per cent.
OTHER OIL SEEDS AND NUTS
Among other oilseeds and nuts the shea nut has assumed a dominating position. A considerable trade has been developed in shea nuts and the extracted butter, chiefly from the Ibadan and Ilorin districts. Exports of shea products in 1913 were 9,540 tons, valued at £74,471; in 1919 they amounted to 1,729 tons, valued at £27,222; and in 1923 recovered to 6,421 tons.
The kola nut is grown to a limited extent but so great is the domestic demand that large quantities must be imported from the Gold Coast. A fair amount of benniseed is grown in the Northern Provinces. The oil from this seed is used extensively by the natives and as yet only small quantities have been exported.
Particular emphasis has been placed on the development of cotton cultivation throughout the British possessions. Excellent results have been obtained in Nigeria, where there is an area half the size of Texas suitable for cotton cultivation. At present the areas highly developed are those near the railroads, but with each new road opened up an ever-increasing area of cotton land is available. Nearly every family has its own cotton patch and it is estimated that 70 per cent of the cotton produced is used in local consumption. A number of diseases and pests injure the crop at times, but with improved methods of cultivation and education of the natives, the
ets of these are minimized to some extent. The Nigerian agricultural department, with the aid of the British Cotton Growing Association, has distributed and established an American long staple variety which has considerably increased the yield. Exports of raw cotton in 1913 were 6,361,152 pounds, valued at £159,223, and in 1919 they were 6,744,752 pounds, valued at £484,744. In 1922 Great Britain took 6,206,700 pounds, valued at £294,101, as compared with 13,196,500 pounds, valued at £530,280, in 1921. Mr. W. H. Himburg, the general manager of the British Cotton Growing Association, has estimated that Nigeria should produce 1,000,000 bales.
MISCELLANEOUS AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS Tobacco is raised to some extent in the Ibadan region but the demand is so great that large quantities are imported. In 1921 there Were 2,771,054 pounds of leaf and unmanufactured tobacco and 65,734,300 cigarrettes imported. During 1922 the department of