Progressing Towards Developed Country Status: The Sustainability of Ghana’s Cocoa Supply Chain in Focus


  • John Kwesi-Buor


sustainable supply chain management, cocoa supply chain sustainability, causal loop mapping


There is mixed feeling and mixed reaction from various quarters in recent times towards the perception that Ghana is progressively crawling into a developed country status. Generally, one would expect the change in status to rain in foreign companies to build factories and to provide essential services commensurate with economic growth and development. However, industrialisation (particularly of an unplanned economy) could aggravate rural-urban migration, urban congestion, and inevitably escalate disputes relative to labour, society, and environment. We anticipate that the agriculture sector in general, and the cocoa supply chain in particular would be the most hit by the change to a developed country status. Already in recent times, the cocoa industry is threatened with farm abandonment, migration, crop replacement perhaps due to the perceived unsustainability of the cocoa industry, and land capture by mining concessionaires.  This research proposes the use of complex interdependent, multidisciplinary investigative approach, or decision-making tools to investigate how downstream chain partners (manufacturers - local, foreign, and multinational companies) could work with their upstream members (suppliers and farmers) to achieve sustainability in the cocoa supply chain. Thus a longitudinal study is proposed as we adopt an embedded case study approach by employing a combination of research designs (interviews, focus groups, observations, surveys, and ethnography research). Data will be sourced from both the upstream and downstream key cocoa industry players and stakeholders, including: the Cocoa Board, Produce Buying Companies, Farmers, Research Institutes, Extension Officers, Port Operators, Cocoa product Haulage Companies, Cocoa Product Manufacturing Companies and any others. A preliminary result suggests that cocoa yield and the health of its supply chain could grow weaker in the years to come, even though government records shows increase in yield by tonnage in recent years. Cocoa farming appears to becoming a disincentive to farmers. The farmers feel excluded from decisions that bothered on their own welfare and do not get a fair-share from their toil. Our findings could therefore awaken the various stakeholders and thus result in designing pragmatic policies that will improve lives of the upstream cocoa supply chain partners, as a departure from the current situation where arguably, the downstream arm-chaired air-conditioned officers and politicians become the sole beneficiaries of cocoa proceeds. Our contribution could encourage rehabilitation of the cocoa landscapes, the conservation and expansion of cocoa forest, and the creation of forest buffer zones and corridors. Cocoa farmers would be incentivised enough to adopt and own the environmentally friendly best practices. Improve cocoa production is also expected to increase research into forest plant medicine, result in better ecosystem management and possibly pave way for ecotourism. Furthermore, improve cocoa production can reduce employment pressure on the state, reduce rural-urban migration, city congestion, urban waste management and inorganic waste pollution. As the quality of rural life improves through policies that can lead to poverty alleviation, revenue generation, income redistribution, and availability of amenities (good roads, schools, health facilities and electricity), the tendency to migrate to urban cities and subsequently to abroad would reduce.



How to Cite

Kwesi-Buor, J. (2020). Progressing Towards Developed Country Status: The Sustainability of Ghana’s Cocoa Supply Chain in Focus. Proceedings of the 63rd Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2019 Corvallis, OR, USA, 63(1). Retrieved from



Organisational Transformation and Social Change