Fairtrade cocoa in Ghana: taking stock and looking ahead uri icon

abstract

  • Some of the global chocolate industry's biggest players, such as Ferrero, Mars, and Hershey, have expressed their commitment to achieve a sustainable cocoa sector by the year 2020. As the world's second largest producer of cocoa, Ghana is also interested in moving towards sustainable cocoa production. Voluntary standards systems, such as Fairtrade, play an important role in providing independent third-party evidence of progress towards sustainability. Fairtrade does so by offering a framework for producers and buyers to engage in more equitable business relations, with reduced price risks for farmers and opportunities for cooperative and community development through investments enabled by the Fairtrade premium. Over the past years, Fairtrade has significantly advanced in Ghana's cocoa sector. Between 2009 and 2014, annual volumes of Fairtrade cocoa produced in the country increased from 481 MT to 54,600 MT. This impressive growth is linked to the evolution of Kuapa Kokoo as leading cocoa cooperative, and to the creation of numerous new cooperatives that obtained Fairtrade certification over the past few years. Founded in 1993 and Fairtrade certified since 1995, Kuapa Kokoo has grown into the world's largest Fairtrade certified cocoa cooperative. With about 100,000 members, organized into 57 independently registered Societies across 1,280 communities, Kuapa Kokoo offers technical services to its members, purchases cocoa as a Licensed Buying Company (LBC), and provides credit (through an associated credit union with more than 8,000 members). While Kuapa Kokoo continues to produce the lion share (77 percent in the season 2012-13) of Ghana's cocoa sold under Fairtrade terms, the newly founded cooperatives are increasingly contributing relevant volumes of Fairtrade certified cocoa. From 2009 to 2014, the number of Fairtrade cooperatives rose from one (Kuapa Kokoo) to 11, and the share of cocoa with the Fairtrade label increased from less than 1 percent to 6.1 percent of national production. In 2014, Ghana was the world's largest producer of cocoa sold under Fairtrade terms with a market share of 38 percent (followed by Côte d'Ivoire with a share of 30 percent). As Fairtrade expands in Ghana, important questions arise in relation to the capacity of cocoa cooperatives and farmers to benefit from Fairtrade certification; and with respect to impactful ways for Fairtrade and partners to engage with these resource-poor stakeholders in response to the constraints they face at the beginning of the value chain. Here we offer insights into these questions by exploring the overall context in which Fairtrade operates in Ghana, as well as the capacities of four recently established Fairtrade-certified cocoa cooperatives and their members. The latter's organization into cooperatives was facilitated by NGOs and cocoa buyers with the explicit goal of linking them to Fairtrade markets. Data are derived from a baseline study commissioned by Fairtrade Africa, including a household survey among 322 randomly selected members from four Fairtrade-certified cocoa cooperatives with a total membership of roughly 5,000

publication date

  • 2016
  • 2016