Sustainability remains high on the worldwide agenda in the cocoa sector as numerous problems threaten its viability. This study gives a broad picture of the Ghanaian cocoa sector and examines the initiatives of two Swiss chocolate manufacturers aiming at a more sustainable and future-oriented cocoa production in Ghana.
The study reveals many challenges the Ghanaian cocoa sector is facing. The entire sector is highly regulated and controlled by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD); the scope of influence of the private sector is limited. The COCOBOD shows rent-seeking behaviour and patronising attitudes. To attract investments from cocoa farmers, cocoa production would have to become a profitable business for them. The case study reveals that certification helps to increase both yields and income of the farmers. However, certification schemes are by far not sufficient to pull farmers out of poverty. As the projects of the two chocolate manufacturers focus on the diversification of the farmers’ income, they have the potential to improve the livelihoods of farmers. Because chocolate manufacturers, through their core business activities, cannot directly interact with farmers given the state control of the sector, its development is limited. Large-scale improvements of the whole cocoa sector go beyond the sphere of influence of chocolate manufacturers and must come from the Ghanaian government.