FEATURE23 August 2016

Palm reading

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Features Impact Middle East and Africa

Nigeria’s palm oil production industry reveals a lot about the country’s economy as a whole – not least about the role of women

Nigeria group

Oyo is the most prosperous inland state in Nigeria. It has rolling hills and fertile fields yielding a variety of cash crops, and its infrastructure has been slowly, but steadily, developing for decades.  

On a recent trip to the area for a multi-country ethnography project, we were stopped at the junction of a road and a dirt track, leading to the small group of villages called Ikereku, by a group of heavily armed policemen wanting to check our reasons for travel. 

The surprise came when they asked to talk to us privately, away from our Nigerian team. It transpired that they were afraid we were being kidnapped, as they had never seen a European heading that way of their own volition. 


In eight years of doing research in Africa – and countless projects in Nigeria – I had never ventured that far from one of the main cities. There are many reasons ...