Toward a sustainable cocoa sector in Ghana

A progressive farmer in Ghana prunes his Carabobo cacao tree, originally from Venezuela. Photo credit: Richard Markham/Bioversity International

A progressive farmer in Ghana prunes his Carabobo cacao tree, originally from Venezuela.
Photo credit: Richard Markham/Bioversity International

Originally published on the website of  Bioversity International

Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa in the world and in recent years has emerged as the world’s principal supplier of Fairtrade-certified cocoa – about 6% of national production falls under that scheme.

A new report carried out for Fairtrade Africa by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Bioversity International concludes that monetary benefits derived from Fairtrade cocoa remain low, contributing on average an additional 2% of cocoa income for certified farmers.  At the same time, cooperatives use part of the Fairtrade Premium to provide their members with farming inputs and training, and to fund overall community development. Multi-sector collaboration is needed to address persistent challenges and to support Ghana’s overall move to a sustainable cocoa sector.

The world’s favourite treat has never been more popular. In the past decade, the chocolate industry’s demand for cocoa has increased by 12% and production has barely been able to keep pace. Growing demand, particularly from emerging economies like China and India, is good news for the industry. At the same time, about 6 million cocoa producers – more than 90% of them smallholders – face significant challenges: low productivity, poverty in the producing communities, and limited infrastructure to connect producers with buyers. Improved and diverse planting stock that can resist pest and diseases, thrive in poor soils and grow in changing climatic conditions is in short supply.

With an annual production of about 750,000–1 million tonnes, Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa in the world. In recent years, Ghana has also emerged as the world’s principal supplier of Fairtrade-certified cocoa, with about 6% of national production falling under that scheme. Yet a new report carried out for Fairtrade Africa by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Bioversity International concludes that monetary benefits derived from Fairtrade cocoa remain low, contributing on average an additional 2% of cocoa income for certified farmers.

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