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Sustainability winners and losers in business-biased cocoa sustainability programmes in West Africa


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In cocoa farming forestland is a production factor. Cocoa planting is easiest and production costs are lowest in tropical forest. Historically, therefore, once forestland has been exhausted in a given geographical area planters tend to diversify into other production systems to avoid the poverty (induced by increasing factor cost) of post-forest cultivation. In modern times however cocoa planters exist in a value chain and post-forest diversification could threaten multinational companies relying on rural planters for their raw material. In 2014 ten of the world’s largest chocolate multinationals combined, with more than $500 million in funding, to introduce a cocoa sustainability scheme called CocoaAction. In principle, CocoaAction and similar sustainability schemes sponsored by western multinational chocolate companies are interventions to empower cocoa planters and planting communities in West African countries. But in practice, as this article will show, these schemes are a response to diminishing returns in cocoa-producing communities and the prospect of diversification, and the resulting projection of a shortage in raw material. There are signs that diversification away from cocoa will be beneficial to cocoa planters and their communities. Cocoa sustainability schemes are therefore designed for the benefit of multinational chocolate companies and at the expense of diversification in West African countries.
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International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
ISSN: 1473-5903 (Print) 1747-762X (Online) Journal homepage:
Sustainability winners and losers in business-
biased cocoa sustainability programmes in West
Michael E. Odijie
To cite this article: Michael E. Odijie (2018): Sustainability winners and losers in business-biased
cocoa sustainability programmes in West Africa, International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability,
DOI: 10.1080/14735903.2018.1445408
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Published online: 05 Mar 2018.
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Sustainability winners and losers in business-biased cocoa sustainability
programmes in West Africa
Michael E. Odijie
Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
In cocoa farming forestland is a production factor. Cocoa planting is easiest and
production costs are lowest in tropical forest. Historically, therefore, once forestland
has been exhausted in a given geographical area planters tend to diversify into
other production systems to avoid the poverty (induced by increasing factor cost)
of post-forest cultivation. In modern times however cocoa planters exist in a value
chain and post-forest diversification could threaten multinational companies relying
on rural planters for their raw material. In 2014 ten of the worlds largest chocolate
multinationals combined, with more than $500 million in funding, to introduce a
cocoa sustainability scheme called CocoaAction. In principle, CocoaAction and
similar sustainability schemes sponsored by western multinational chocolate
companies are interventions to empower cocoa planters and planting communities
in West African countries. But in practice, as this article will show, these schemes
are a response to diminishing returns in cocoa-producing communities and the
prospect of diversification, and the resulting projection of a shortage in raw
material. There are signs that diversification away from cocoa will be beneficial to
cocoa planters and their communities. Cocoa sustainability schemes are therefore
designed for the benefit of multinational chocolate companies and at the expense
of diversification in West African countries.
Sustainability; cocoa;
chocolate; Ghana; Côte
dIvoire; development
1. Introduction
The reason we want to help farmers is because we
want to help ourselves lets not be under any illu-
sion.Nicko Debenham, Barry Callebauts Vice-Presi-
dent for Global Cocoa Sustainability (quoted in
Nieburg, 2014).
When applied to dynamic small-scale agriculture
systems whose products have no domestic use
value, sustainability initiatives with the implicit goal
of maintaining a production balance can be mislead-
ing. A depletion of production resources and the
resulting decrease in yield can lead beneficially to
factor reallocation to and diversification into promis-
ing sectors. For example, cocoa has very little dom-
estic use value in both Côte dIvoire and Ghana, two
of the worlds top cocoa exporters (representing
60% of global output; cocoa was introduced to both
countries during the colonial era). Therefore, a
structural misalignment exists within the domestic
economy of both countries. Furthermore, cocoa pro-
duction is susceptible to diminishing returns due to
the static nature of the production factor of forestland,
the exhaustion of which provokes migration (to virgin
forestland) or diversification (into new products). In
light of this, implementing a sustainability scheme
with the intention or effect of preventing or reversing
post-forest factor mobility or diversification is both
unnecessary and perhaps even downright anti-
However, multinational confectionery companies
relying on cocoa beans as their raw material can
apply the flexible language of sustainability to
ensure a secure supply of raw material if factor mobi-
lity (i.e. diversification away from cocoa) threatens
their raw-material source. In this way, factor mobility
and developmental changes have been prevented in
© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
CONTACT Michael E. Odijie
cocoa-producing countries on the pretext of helping
local farmers. The cocoa sector in West African
countries offers an important example. Ten of the
worlds largest chocolate multinationals combined in
2014, with more than $500 million in funding, to intro-
duce a cocoa-sustainability scheme called CocoaAc-
tion. In principle, CocoaAction and similar
sustainability schemes sponsored by multinational
chocolate companies are interventions to empower
planters and planting communities in West African
countries. But in practice, as this article will show,
these schemes are a response to increased factor
mobility following diminishing returns in cocoa-pro-
ducing communities, and the resulting projection of
a shortage in raw material. The number of industry-
sponsored sustainability schemes increased after
2010, when key industry players, such as Mars, Barry
Callebaut and Blommer Chocolate Company, came
together to predict a shortfall of 1 million metric
tons of cocoa by 2020 due to two unconnected
factors: plantersmoving away from cocoa production
into other crops (such as palm oil and rubber) and an
increasing demand for chocolate in emerging
This study is based on secondary data collected
through a systematic review and reorientation of exist-
ing literature and document analysis. The argument of
the study is that cocoa-sustainability schemes are
designed specifically to prevent diversification and
economic change in West African countries. In the
long term, therefore, multinational sustainability
schemes are anti-developmental; they stunt economic
change and progress and encourage the continuation
of current production systems against the forces of
diversification and change. In sum, cocoa-sustainabil-
ity schemes are designed for the benefit of multina-
tional chocolate companies and at the expense of
development in West African countries. The paper
contributes to the literature on international develop-
ment in two ways. First, it problematizes the concept
of sustainability (when appropriated by industry) by
showing how industry-development schemes overtly
designed to ensure sustainability may be driven by
the hidden objective of securing a raw-material
supply following diminishing returns. Relatedly, the
study shows how such development schemes (sup-
ported by nongovernmental organizations, NGOs)
hinder economic change and promote intensive pro-
duction systems in target societies.
In the following, I first theorize cocoa cultivation
both historically and environmentally by reorienting
the existing literature (soil scientific, conservationist,
ecologist and environmentalist) to provide an econ-
omic explanation of the relationship between forest-
land and cocoa farming. This is an attempt to show
that there is a structural limitation on cocoa farming,
determined by the amount of forestland available in
a given producing region. The implications of this
limitation are discussed. I next show that this struc-
tural limitation has been reached in Ghana and Côte
dIvoire. In the third section, I argue that CocoaAction
and other industry-sustainability schemes are
designed to perpetuate production due to the threat
of a cocoa shortage following the depletion of forest-
land. Sustainability (or more specifically the sustain-
ability of raw materials) comes at the cost of
stunting economic change in West Africa. In the con-
clusion, I discuss several implications of intensive pro-
duction in West African countries.
2. The nature of cocoa production: forest as
a production factor
The following extracts call attention to a key feature of
the cultivation of cocoa beans, which is addressed in
this section.
The Sonocusco province [in Mexico] was famous for its
wealth and prosperity, densely populated with Indians
and much visited by Spaniard merchants for its abundant
cocoa production and its important trade that followed
from it. There are now very few Indians. It is said that
there are less than two thousand and that cocoa trade
is disappearing, moving to another province, farther on
the track to Guatemala.
Alonso Ponce, 1586 (quoted by Ruf & Schroth, 2004)
In the mountains, cacao cultures grow to produce much
profit. However, the factor of success, new soil, is a tran-
sitory one. The colonists did not fertilize the soil, they
used it up and then planted elsewhere.
Delawarde (1935), describing Martinique Island in the
seventeenth century.
Cocoa cultivation is rare today between Abidjan and Aben-
gourou, the region where the cocoa industry was born. In
the Abengourou region itself, production has declined for
the last 12 years to 6,000 tonnes from approximately
22,000. One can see abandoned farms everywhere. Pro-
duction is shifting to the interior toward Dimbokro and
Gagnoa, where new virgin forestlands are cleared.
Description of Côte dIvoire by the Food and Agricul-
ture Organization (FAO) in 1957. (FAO, 1957, pp.
These descriptions of a shift in cocoa-growing
regions on different continents and in different centu-
ries are astonishingly similar. They highlight a key
characteristic of the history of cocoa production. For
centuries, cocoa-production centres have repeatedly
undergone geographical shifts (Clarence-Smith,
2000, p. 5; Kolawole, 1970; Ruf & Lançon, 2004,p.
155). It is no coincidence that today, as observed by
environmentalists, the map of cocoa-producing
areas is reminiscent of the map of the worlds tropical
biodiversity hotspots(Clough, Faust, & Tscharntke,
2009, p. 198). The threatened habitat of the tropical
forest is a production factor in cocoa farming. Cocoa
planting is easiest and production costs are lowest in
tropical forest (ibid.).
Accordingly, a region that lacks abundant forest-
land cannot host cocoa planters; cocoa-producing
regions in which forestland has been exhausted
must cease to cultivate the product. According to
Ruf and Zadi (2003), [w]hen [cocoa] trees grow older
and when forest has been massively cleared, cultiva-
tion becomes more difficult[italics mine]. Once forest-
land has been exhausted in a given geographical area,
planters tend to migrate in search of virgin forestland.
This accounts for the repeated shifts in cocoa-cultiva-
tion centres both between and within nations. The
continuous migration of cocoa producers and corre-
sponding movement of cocoa-production centres,
which have been acknowledged in several studies
(Clough et al., 2009; Hill & Meyer, 1963; Hunter, 1963;
Ruf & Zadi, 2003), are thus related to the sectors
boom and bust cycle. According to some conserva-
tionists studying cocoa cultivation, there are five key
stages of the cycle of cocoa production: settlement,
boom, stagnation, bust, and migration to new forest-
land (Clough et al., 2009, p. 198). Figure 1 shows a
model of this cocoa circle, adopted from Clough
et al. (2009, p. 198).
The above model is an approximation. To calculate
the actual duration and speed of boom and bust,
certain contextual information is required: soil type
and cultivation method, for example. In terms of culti-
vation method, forestland can be used to produce
cocoa in two ways: the shaded method and the
zero-shaded method. In shaded farms, much of the
forest undergrowth is cut and burned, but some
giant trees are preserved to create a canopy for
young cocoa plants. The shade from the giant trees
helps young cocoa plants to avoid the physiological
stress caused by direct exposure to sunlight. There-
fore, the majority of cocoa plants are planted in
thinned forest forest in which many trees have
been cut down and burned, with some preserved to
provide a canopy for cocoa plants (Clough et al.,
2009, p. 199; Ruf & Schroth, 2004, p. 114). One disad-
vantage of the shaded method compared with the
unshaded method is its delayed returns. Although
heavy shade protects cocoa plants from the deleter-
ious effect of direct contact with sunlight, it also
slows down the growth of the cocoa-tree crop. Plan-
ters using the shaded method for cultivation are gen-
erally protected against insects and pests. The overall
life of the cocoa plant is also prolonged. The second
cocoa-growing method is the zero-shade (or
unshaded) method. This method entails the intensive
burning of biomass. Planting after intensively burning
a piece of forestland accelerates the initial growth of
cocoa trees and ensures a quick harvest. It has been
calculated that shaded cultivation/agroforestry in
Côte dIvoire took 5 years until the first cocoa yield
and produced 500 kg of cocoa per hectare after 10
years,whereas with the no-shade system the tree
crops started to produce within 3 years and yielded
close to 1 metric ton of cocoa per hectare at 67
years(Ruf & Schroth, 2004 p. 117). However, although
the zero-shade method increases returns, it also
heightens plantssusceptibility to pests, diseases and
physiological stress, which makes replanting difficult
Theoretically, the two methods of cultivation are
not easily delineated. For example, some farmers
pursue hybrid cultivation by converting shaded
farms into zero-shade farms. That is, cocoa plants are
shaded until early maturity, when the shade is
removed to increase yield in the short term (shade
removal shown under stagnationin Figure 1). The
method of cultivation used in a given geographical
region is determined by several factors, such as
social and political conditions. Access to forestland
can determine a regions cultivation method.
Most cocoa planters in Ghana for example used the
shaded method in their early engagement with the
product, partly due to land customs (land was con-
trolled by strong traditional authorities, who pre-
vented farmers from accessing free land and
hindered constant migration). The situation was differ-
ent in the neighbouring Côte dIvoire, where the colo-
nial administration instituted an open-land policy
(from 1946) that denied traditional rulers the right to
forestland. After independence, Côte dIvoires gov-
ernment followed in the footsteps of the colonial
regime by instituting a free migration and open-land
policy in an attempt to maintain the cocoa economy
(Boone, 2007, p. 72). For example, a few months
after independence, the regime led by Félix Hou-
phouët-Boigny (and his party, the Democratic Party
of Côte dIvoire) introduced a bill consolidating
migrantsstatus relative to ceded land. Next, in 1963,
the government introduced a Code Dominial requir-
ing all land not privately held to be registered in the
name of the state (Boone, 2007, p. 72). In the same
year, the government formulated a mise en valeur
decree, translated as land belongs to whoever culti-
vates it(quoted by Miran-Guyon, 2014, p. 17). At the
cost of increasing forest depletion, the Ivorian open
land policy propelled Côte dIvoire to the leading pos-
ition in global cocoa production. The countrys forest
reserves are estimated to have decreased from
roughly 16 million hectares at independence to 2.5
million hectares in the early 1990s. The cycle of settle-
ment, boom, stagnation, bust, and migration occurred
more rapidly in Côte dIvoire than anywhere else. The
annual rate of deforestation in Côte dIvoire in the
1970s (at the time of its massive increase in cocoa
output) reached 6.5%, the highest in the world
(Schmidt, 1990). This increase in deforestation
presaged the end of optimal cocoa cultivation due
to differential forest rent and the difficulty of post-
forest production.
Ruf and Zadi (2003) used the phrase differential
forest rentto describe the difference in production
or investment cost between a ton produced on a
farm established in forestland and a ton of the same
commodity produced by replanting in post-forest. In
principle, differential forest rent can be calculated in
terms of the ratio of input to output. But the difference
between cultivating cocoa in forestland and replant-
ing cocoa cannot be calculated in any precise terms
due to high level of informal activities in the sector.
However, according to the owner of one smallholder
organization, you have one hectare of cocoa after
grassland and two hectares after forest(quoted in
Ruf & Lançon, 2004, p. 195). The effort required to
maintain cocoa crops, in terms of factor employment,
also differs between planted and replanted crops, due
to microclimatic differences between forests and
replanted sites. It is thus possible that post-forest cul-
tivation, with its reduced output, requires more input.
Several researchers have demonstrated the increasing
need for labour in Côte dIvoire since the 1990s.
Figure 1. Model of cacao boom-and-bust cycle; the cacao cycle may last for as little as 2025 years. Adopted from Clough et al. (2009).
According to one estimate, the entire labour invest-
ment in replanting was 260 days per hectare, as
opposed to 74 days per hectare for planting with for-
estland (Ruf & Schroth, 2004, p. 112).
The relationship between forestland and cocoa
production has certain implications for political-
economy research as well as ecological/environmental
studies and other disciplines. In the political economy
of development, after the structural ceiling of forest-
land has been reached, planters must either continue
production under worse conditions (i.e. increased cost,
which cannot be adjusted by price setting as produ-
cers have no control over price, leading to involution)
or diversify into other areas of production. The ecolo-
gist/environmentalist, however, approaches the ques-
tion in terms of conserving environmental properties.
Therefore, environmentalists are likely to propose sol-
utions such as improving cultivation methods and
planting more trees.
2.1. Economic implications of deforestation in
cocoa-growing regions
The relationship between forestland and cocoa culti-
vation can be explicated using various disciplinary
frameworks: environmental; conservation- and
resource-related; ecological; biodiversity-related,
migration-related; geographical; the science of econ-
omics; developmental, etc. The implications of the
relationship depend on the disciplinary framework
chosen. For example, environmentalists, conservation-
alists and ecologists were the first to observe and the-
orize the link between cocoa and deforestation (Clay,
2004, p. 126; Clough et al., 2009; Schroth & Harvey,
2007, p. 2238). Proponents of these schools of
thought approached the question in terms of the
damage done to the environment by deforestation
and cocoa planting, especially unshaded cultivation,
and proposed agro-forestry solutions to achieve the
goals of conserving forest and providing environmen-
tally friendly cultivation systems. Laudable as this
concern for the environment may be, social scientists
(e.g. economists and development practitioners)
looking into the causes of poverty and development
are likely to draw completely different conclusions.
For example, the relationship between forestland
and cocoa cultivation can be explicated via the law
of diminishing returns. Diminishing returns occur in
a production system in which one production factor
(such as land) is fixed while others (such as labour
and capital) increase. As the non-constant factor
increases, output diminishes due to the structural
ceiling of the constant factor of production. In the
case of cocoa, forestland is the static production
factor, with a structural ceiling, while labour is the vari-
able factor. The concept of diminishing returns does
not directly concern profit, but rather the changeabil-
ity of output or yield in response to the availability and
use of the static factor. It is thus indirectly linked to
profit insofar as profit is the difference between pro-
duction cost (which is bound to increase after the
exhaustion of the static production factor) and
output price. The depletion of forestland in a cocoa-
producing region will, as already shown, lead to an
increase in production cost and reduction in output.
The concept of diminishing output has been used to
explain poverty throughout history (due to increasing
input) as well as migration in search for new forestland
(Reinert, 1996, p. 2). The depletion of forestland in
Côte dIvoire and Ghana can therefore be used to
study either migration patterns, as in the copious
environmental studies referenced above, or an
increase in poverty among cocoa planters (largely
neglected in previous research).
Historically, migration (to obtain a new source of
raw materials, such as new forestland) or diversifica-
tion is the natural outcome of diminishing returns, to
avoid poverty; both activities are much more likely
to occur where there is no use value for the product
in question. In the case of cocoa production in West
Africa, one barrier to diversification may be the centra-
lized nature of the sector. In both Côte dIvoire and
Ghana, governments mediate between cocoa planters
and international buyers through a national marketing
board, and thus have a certain level of control over
cocoa planters (Bauer, 1954, p. 302). This practice is
inherited from the colonial era. The governments of
these countries use the marketing board as a system
of taxation. As a result, the obligation to diversify in
the event of diminishing returns is partly shared by
the government (which can in practice reverse diversi-
fication through tactics such as manipulating kinship
networks). Post-forest cultivation can therefore be
expected in West Africa.
Post-forest cultivation can be explained in terms
of an increase in non-forest input or intensive pro-
duction. This is an example of agricultural involution,
as theorized by the anthropologist Clifford Greetz
(Geertz, 1963). Greetz coined the term agricultural
involutionto describe a situation in which an
increase in population and diminishing production
resources cause intensification rather than change.
In this case, more labour or more fertilizers are used
to mitigate the effects of increase in factor input
needed to cultivate cocoa in a post-diminishing
returns era. Greetz studied the responses of Javanese
rice paddy farmers in Indonesia to diminishing
returns and population increase. The Javanese
farmers reacted to diminishing returns by increasing
labour (and other factors) to prevent a decrease in
output. However, such involution may reduce
quality, cause a continuous decrease in yield, and,
most importantly, reduce per-capita output. This
decreases the rate of remuneration, because com-
modity producers are price takers and thus cannot
adjust for extra factors by increasing the price of
output. In this case, a superficial analysis of output
over time cannot capture the essence of diminishing
returns, which is conventionally understood to lead
to a reduction in output; in fact, diminishing returns
takes the form of an increase in input and a resulting
decrease in remuneration and increase in poverty
among planters.
Geertz coined the term shared povertyto describe
increased input as a result of diminishing returns. He
wrote that [u]nder the pressure of increasing
numbers [population] and limited resources [diminish-
ing returns], Javanese village society [divided] the
economic pie into a steadily increasing number of
minute pieces, a process to which I have referred else-
where as shared poverty”’ (Geertz, 1963, p. 97).
Shared poverty entails a continuous decrease in remu-
neration and profit due to the extra labour (or other
input) that has to be used to deflect the effect of
diminishing resources. This theory accurately
describes a system in which output remains
unchanged after the crucial production factor has
been exhausted. According to classical diminishing-
returns theory, output is reduced after the exhaustion
of a static production factor (forestland, in the case of
cocoa). Geertzs theory concerns the use of more
labour or other production factors (such as fertilizers)
to prevent a decrease in output. If extra labour is
required to attain the previous output of a piece of
land (due to diminishing returns), profits are reduced
by the additional labour costs incurred. As agricultural
producers have no control over prices, the extra cost
cannot be balanced by an increase in prices. An
increase in cost without a corresponding increase in
price reduces profit and remuneration; thence
shared poverty. Agricultural involution and shared
poverty thus provide a theoretical language for
explaining the increase in poverty among farmers
after a vital production factor has been exhausted
(see Odijie, 2016).
3. Evidence of post-Forest involution in
Ghana and Côte dIvoire
There is evidence of forest depletion and post-forest
cultivation in both Ghana and Côte dIvoire (Clay,
2004, p. 126; Green, 1971, p. 235; Ruf & Schroth,
2004, p. 112). As cocoa was introduced first to the
then Gold Coast (Ghanas colonial name), Ghana
reached the point of diminishing returns before Côte
dIvoire. Although it is impossible to neatly distinguish
forest cultivation from post-forest cultivation, as early
as 1971 Reginald Green explained the difference
between the cocoa sectors of Ghana and Côte
dIvoire in terms of forest depletion. He argued that
Côte dIvoire in the 1960s was analogous to Gold
Coast of 1900in terms of the availability of forestland
(Green, 1971, p. 235). This explained the reduction in
yield and output in Ghana and their increase in the
neighbouring Côte dIvoire. Erik Green took up a
similar argument in a 2013 study, showing that the
exhaustion of forestland in Ghana was responsible
for the countrys post-1965 output slump (Green,
In Ghana, cocoa output decreased from 580,000
tonnes in 1964/65 to 159,000 tonnes in 1982/83 (Kola-
valli & Vigneri, 2011, p. 204). The share of Ghanas
output in the total world volume of cocoa decreased
from 36% in 1965 to 17% in the early 1980s. The stan-
dard explanation of the decline of Ghanas cocoa
output is based on macroeconomic factors (Bulir,
2002; Kolavalli & Vigneri, 2011), such as the overvalua-
tion of the Ghanaian cedi in the 1970s (Kolavalli &
Vigneri, 2011, p. 204). However, methodical examin-
ation reveals that the low yield of cocoa per hectare
in Ghana from the 1960s cannot be attributed to
macroeconomic factors. The low yield can only be
attributed to the high incidence of pests and diseases.
François Ruf calculated that Ghana had the worlds
lowest cocoa yield in the early 1970s: about 330 kh/
hectare, which was 40% less than Côte dIvoires and
Brazils yields, respectively; 58% less than Malaysias
yield; and 70% less than Indonesias yield in the
same period (Nyanteng, 1995, p.183). This phenom-
enon cannot be explained by macroeconomic
factors. In the 1970s, cocoa output per hectare in
Ghana was 100% lower than that in Côte dIvoire. In
1979, for example, 784,000 hectares of land in Côte
dIvoire produced approximately 400,000 tonnes of
cocoa, whereas 1.2 million hectares were required to
produce 277,200 tonnes in Ghana (FAOSTAT 2016).
Ghana was thus cultivating more farmland and har-
vesting less cocoa than its neighbour Côte dIvoire,
clearly as a result of diminishing returns.
The Ghanaian government revitalized the cocoa
sector in 1983 under the Economic Recovery Pro-
gramme (ERP) administered by the World Bank. The
revitalization scheme was involutionary, but the gov-
ernment and foreign NGOs deflated some of the
extra cost. The ERP provided several inducements for
the continued cultivation of cocoa: increased produ-
cer prices, compensation for planters for removing
infected trees and planting new crops, and the distri-
bution of fertilizers and other chemical inputs. The
government also encouraged expansion into pre-
viously preserved forestland (Kolavalli & Vigneri,
2011, p. 204). As Kolavalli and Vigneri argued, the
effect of forestland depletion was offset by an increase
in the use of fertilizers and pest-/disease-control
measures, some of which were provided by govern-
ment agencies and NGOs. Furthermore, the Ghanaian
government (through the Ghana Cocoa Board,
COCOBOD) assumed the responsibility for annually
spraying all Ghanaian cocoa farms at no direct cost
to planters. This greatly increased output and limited
the direct effect of diminishing returns. Output
increased more than 100% after the introduction of
the spraying services. In essence, the Ghanaian gov-
ernment managed the effects of forest depletion by
helping planters to distribute fertilizers and control
pests and disease (Vigneri, 2007, p. 2). Therefore, the
burden of diminishing returns was somewhat shifted
to the government and development NGOs. Other-
wise, planters in Ghana would have diversified (Glin,
Oosterveer, & Mol, 2015).
However, with continued diminishing returns, the
input required (number of sprayings, for example)
increases with subsequent replanting. At the begin-
ning of the mass-spraying exercise, farms were
sprayed three times annually; by 2009, this number
had increased to five (three sprayings between June
and October for black pod disease and other diseases,
and two between August and September for mirids
and other insects) (Naminse, Fosu, & Nongyenge,
2012, p. 4). In 2011, mediated by COCOBOD, which
was in charge of the spraying exercise, the govern-
ment sought consultation on phasing out the spraying
programme due to its increasing cost (Adu-Gyamerah,
2011). The results of the consultation indicated that
the sector could not survive at an optimal level in
the absence of the spraying services. In 2014, the Gha-
naian government cancelled its subsidization package
for cocoa farmers due to the increasing cost of the
range of subsidies provided, but this led to a reduction
in output by 18% (Wexler, 2016). The government
backtracked. In essence, Ghana is currently producing
cocoa intensively, with the extra cost provided by the
government, NGOs and multinationals; there were no
fertilizer-subsidization programmes or mass sprayings
of farms in the 1960s. In a complete analysis, it is poss-
ible to imagine that Ghana would not profit from
cocoa production if the cost of spraying and other
freeinputs (fertilizers, spraying materials, etc.) were
included in the overall production cost.
Côte dIvoire is at least two decades behind Ghana
in terms of the depletion of its forestland. Cocoa pro-
duction in Côte dIvoire reached the point of diminish-
ing returns in the 1990s (Ruf & Schroth, 2004, p. 112).
Recent research has indicated that among other
effects, cocoa farmers have been made poorer by
the increasing cost of production. Of the 6 million
people in Côte dIvoire (about 700,000 smallholder
families) who depend on cocoa for their income, the
World Bank estimates that despite a continuous
increase in cocoa prices, more than 60% live below
the poverty line (more than 28% of all impoverished
citizens in Côte dIvoire), compared with less than
10% in the 1960s/1970s (World Bank, 2013, p. 3). The
widespread use of slave/child labour in the Ivorian
cocoa sector has also been reported. These practices
were completely absent from the country until the
1990s (World Bank, 2013, p. 6). Several researchers
have demonstrated the increasing need for labour in
Côte dIvoire since the 1990s. According to one esti-
mate, the entire labour investment in replanting is
260 days per hectare, as opposed to 74 days per
hectare for planting with forestland (Ruf & Schroth,
2004, p. 112).
Recently, researchers from the Journal of Tropical
Conservation Science surveyed 23 protected areas in
Côte dIvoire (a world biodiversity hotspot) from
2010 to 2013, and were shocked to find that three
quarters of the land in these areas had been taken
over by illegal cocoa farms. The report concluded that
while much of the expansion of Côte dIvoires agri-
businesses has occurred on plantations owned/leased
by companies or on private land of eco-certified cocoa
farmers, a growing number of cocoa farms are found
inside national parks and forest reserves, or protected
areas. (Bitty, Gonedele, Koffi Bene, Kouass, & McGraw,
2015, p. 96)
Similarly, Ruf (2015, p. 54) observed a very strong ten-
dency for the
clearing of protected forests [for cocoa cultivation],
especially from 2008 onwards. Thus, in the protected
forest of Goin Débé which the farmers have humorously
nicknamed If you want, in the sense of if you want, if you
are strong, take the risk, buy and clear the land’–open
interviews with the autochthons and migrants allowed
us to understand the process underway.
This encroachment upon national parks is part of the
post-forest strategy for cocoa planting in Côte dIvoire.
Farmers in Côte dIvoire, unlike those in Ghana, do
not benefit from extensive government-sponsored
subsidization or spraying schemes. Therefore, there
is more poverty among cocoa farmers and a greater
use of child labour to save costs in Côte dIvoire
(World Bank, 2013). A 2014 follow-up study of the
use of child labour in cocoa production on West
Africa cocoa farms revealed that 2.1 million children
had been engaged in inappropriate forms of child
labor in Côte dIvoire and Ghana combined a 21%
increase over the 1.75 million identified in its survey
five years earlier(OKeefe, 2016). But this research
also indicated that the number of children reported
to be performing dangerous tasks fell by 6% in
Ghana and increased by 46% in Côte dIvoire in the
7 years under study. These differences in the use of
child labour/trafficking might be attributed to the
varying effectiveness of government policies designed
to check the practice. Primarily, however, the differ-
ences are a function of variation in the amount of
labour required for cocoa production, due to the
mass spraying of cocoa farms and distribution of ferti-
lizers in Ghana (but not in Côte dIvoire).
I conclude this section by summarizing three
points. First, as forestland is a factor in the pro-
duction/cultivation of cocoa, cultivation becomes dif-
ficult once forest has been massively cleared. After
the exhaustion of forestland, planters diversify or
migrate to virgin forest, but the second option is
limited by the availability of forestland in a given
region. Second, Ghana and Côte dIvoire have
reached the point of forest exhaustion. Third, parties
such as NGOs and cocoa multinationals (seeking to
secure a supply of cocoa, their raw material) are dis-
torting the process of diversification. Post-forest culti-
vation has persisted in Ghana through government
and NGO programmes designed partly to assist
farmers through the mass spraying of farms and distri-
bution of fertilizers at no extra cost to cocoa planters.
The situation in Côte dIvoire is different, as indicated
by the disparity in the poverty rate of cocoa planters
between the two countries, as well as the disparity
in the use of child/slave labour (a cost-saving mechan-
ism). Diversification or factor reallocation away from
cocoa appears to be the best developmental option
for both countries (and the government of Ghana
has already acknowledged the increasing cost of
assisting planters). However, as soon as signs of diver-
sification become evident, chocolate multinationals
(and NGOs) intervene with sustainability schemes
designed specifically to reverse diversification and
perpetuate cocoa production. The next section
addresses factor mobility and the role of cocoa-sus-
tainability schemes in stunting factor reallocation.
4. Multinational sustainability schemes at
the expense of diversification
4.1. Evidence of diversification
In the 2000s, the chocolate industry was pervaded by
anxiety about increasing signs of diversification away
from cocoa cultivation into the rubber industry in
West Africa, especially Côte dIvoire (Ruf, 2015, p. 41).
One representative of a large chocolate multinational
explained this anxiety as follows: my enemy is not my
competitor in the purchase of cocoa, but the rubber
industry(quoted by Ruf, 2015, p. 41). Large chocolate
companies have since initiated a series of new projects
and programmes, framed in the language of sustain-
ability, to compel planters to remain within the
cocoa sector. Ruf (2015) studied the attempt at
organic diversification into rubber in a handful of
cocoa communities in Côte dIvoire. He wrote that
the history of cocoa cycles reminds us of the impact of
ecological changes (decreased soil fertility, disease
pressure, cocoa mortality). In Côte dIvoire, since the
late 2000s, this process has been accompanied by an
intrusion of rubber cultivation into agricultural landscape.
(ibid., 61)
The number of rubber plantations in the areas under
study increased threefold between 2004 and 2009.
This increase in rubber planting was directly related
to cocoa desertion (Blas, 2010; Martinko & Ford, 2014;
Ford, Vit, Neate, Branigan, & Saner, 2014). At one point,
stakeholders in the rubber industry became defensive
about the ongoing factor reallocation from cocoa to
rubber: cultivation of rubber helps farmers climb out
of poverty but we certainly do not want farmers to
abandon cocoa,said the director of a rubber
company (quoted in Ruf, 2015, p. 42). Similarly,
Akpangni Attobra, general secretary of the Ivorian
Natural Rubber Association, stated that [w]ere not
asking the farmers to chop down their cocoa or
coffee to plant rubber. On the contrary, were telling
them to keep their cocoa and do a little rubber on
the side(Reuters, 2013). In 2012, Paul de Petter, the
West African director of the worlds top chocolate
maker, Barry Callebaut, identified rubber as the
biggest problem facing the industry,and called for
chocolate multinationals to solve this problem or
face a shortage of raw materials (McFarlane & Aboa,
2012). In short, the organic growth of rubber and to
some extent palm oil and other food crops in Côte
dIvoire has been attributed to plantersdeserting
cocoa for other crops (Lapeyre, 2004; Merrill, 2002;
Reuters, 2013). François Ruf argued that one of the
reasons for diversification into rubber is that rubber
is a crop better adopted to poor soils(2015, p. 69).
Rubber cultivation also requires less labour input,
and its returns are quasi-monthly, which prompted
one farmer to say that growing rubber is just like
being a government employee(quoted by Ruf,
2015, p. 86). To the extent that such a preference
can be measured, planters prefer rubber to cocoa.
But rubber is not the only crop into which cocoa plan-
ters have diversified. Palm oil, cashew, rice and other
products with domestic demand patterns have also
been targets of diversification. Given the exhaustion
of forestland, cocoas lack of domestic use value and
the increasing factor cost of cocoa production, diversi-
fication away from cocoa is the best strategy to reduce
poverty (as farmers themselves have confirmed) and
achieve development in the long term.
Before addressing the question of cocoa sustain-
ability scheme, addressed below, one obvious ques-
tion is what would a farmers-centred sustainability
initiative in the cocoa-growing regions of West Africa
look like? (As distinct from a cocoa sustainability
initiativewhere the focus or keyword is cocoa).
Theoretically, one way of answering this question is
through Ester Boserups theory of innovation,
especially her landmark publication The Conditions of
Agricultural Growth: The Economics of Agrarian
Change Under Population Pressure (1964). Boserup
was responding to the gloomy picture of Malthusian
trap. Malthus used population increase as stressor to
predict a food crisis. The key variable in Malthusian
theory, as developed further by neo-Malthusians
such as Le Roy Ladurie (For a complete overview see
Turchin & Nefedov, 2009), is population density in
relation to the carrying capacity of a region. Carrying
capacity in this context refers to the population
density that the resources of a defined habitat can
support in the long term (Cohen 1995, p. 341).
However carrying capacity can be strongly affected
by factors such as technology and crop-type.
Boserup argues that peasant agriculture never
reaches its carrying capacity or structural limit,
because every time it comes close to doing so that
is, every time soil-fertility loss approaches a structural
limit (which Boserup defines in terms of a population
increase relative to a fixed land resource) a process
of innovating causes output to increase. In her theor-
etical language, therefore, stressors (in this case defor-
estation which is a stressor in cocoa farming) is the
main driver of innovation and change in agriculture.
Her thesis was substantiated in a historical account
entitled Population and Technological Change: A
Study of Long-Term Trends, published in 1983. Internal
innovation can take several forms; a change in food
variety, a change in cultivation method, technological
innovation, migration etc. depending on the nature of
the stress. As Boserup puts it, a people can replace
such land-intensive crops as cereals with tubers or
roots that have higher food-yields per acre(Boserup,
1983, p. 385).
To translate Boserup to the current case: since for-
estland is the production factor leading to unsustain-
able cocoa production in West Africa, a change in
crop-type or a diversification into products that do
not depend on the vital resource of forestland will
function to provide a shift in the equilibrium state of
planters. In the absence of intervention cocoa planters
would search for other means of livelihood by diversi-
fying into non-forest products or non-farm activities.
As I have already shown, increase in rubber planting
was directly related to cocoa desertion. Indeed soil
scientists have argued that the cultivation of rubber
plantations may even lead to reforestation (Penot,
Ruf, & Courbet, 2000). Any farmers-centred sustainabil-
ity initiative ought to start with the elementary
element that it might be better for cocoa planters to
diversify away from cocoa. But in a cocoa centred sus-
tainability scheme planters are mere instrument for
the production of cocoa.
4.2. Multinational sustainability schemes
What is important to West African cocoa-producing
countries, from a development perspective, is
whether production resources can be better utilized
(in terms of poverty reduction and development at
large) in other sectors. Yet the continued production
of cocoa does matter to multinationals and consumers
(in developed economies and increasingly in emer-
ging economies), because the chocolate confection-
ery market is a global industry worth $80 billion a
year. It is vital to distinguish between the interests of
West African producers, Western chocolate consumers
and Western multinationals to understand for whom
the cocoa-sustainability schemes have been designed
and at whose expense. Chocolate manufacturers,
accompanied by environmental NGOs, are deeply
troubled by the prospect of diversification, and have
launched various schemes to sustain cocoa output.
From a West African perspective, cocoa-sustainability
schemes are designed specifically to stunt diversifica-
tion into other promising sectors. For example, the
question Why is CocoaAction needed?was asked in
regard to Côte dIvoire and Ghana in a 2016 document
on CocoaAction sustainability scheme (CocoaAction
Primer, 2016, p. 5). The answer, according to the docu-
ment, was [i]ncreased competition from other cash
crops(ibid.) Increased competition for production
factors is a clear sign of resource reallocation and
Boserupian innovation responding to the stressor of
deforestation. This is development.
Before CocoaAction, several individual multina-
tional companies had collaborated with NGOs (and
certification companies) to create cocoa-sustainability
schemes that despite their humanitarian rhetoric were
in fact designed primarily to increase production in
cocoa-producing communities. As Ruf reported,
cocoa-certification programmes launched by choco-
late companies re-elicited support from the sector
from the late 2000s, when several projections of
future shortage were made. In 2010, less than 5% of
the farmers had received certification but by 2013
2014, this figure had grown to 50%(Ruf, 2015,p.
82). The Nestlé Cocoa Plan, the result of collaboration
between Nestlé Confectionery, Fairtrade and UTZ, is
mainly concerned with providing cocoa planters in
the Nestlé supply chain with new plants and encoura-
ging them to cultivate more (Nestle Cocoa Plan, 2016).
In 2015 alone, the programme provided farmers with
almost 2 million new plants (freely distributed).
Although the scheme has other dimensions, such as
investment in schools and water, the key goal of the
Nestlé Cocoa Plan is to guarantee a stable supply of
Another example is Mondelēz Internationals Cocoa
Life sustainability programme, which was unveiled as
a scheme to Help One Million People in Cocoa
Farming Communities(Mondelēz International,
2016). In essence, like the Nestlé plan, Cocoa Life
was created to boost the productivity and increase
the output of cocoa-producing communities through
the distribution of fertilizers and planting materials.
Since the late 2000s, there has been a proliferation
of individual multinational sustainability schemes,
supported by every player in the chocolate business:
Cadbury, Blommer Chocolate Company, Mars, Incor-
porated, etc. CocoaAction was an attempt to
combine individual multinational sustainability strat-
egies for maintaining cocoa supply.
CocoaAction was launched in 2014 by ten of the
worlds largest chocolate multinationals. According
to the official reading adopted by both NGOs and cho-
colate multinationals, CocoaAction is a voluntary intra-
industry strategy undertaken collaboratively by the
worlds largest chocolate producers to assist cocoa
planters in Ghana and Côte dIvoire. The multinational
companies involved in CocoaAction are Barry Calle-
baut, the Blommer Chocolate Company, Cargill,
Ferrero, The Hershey Company, Mars, Mondelēz Inter-
national, Nestlé, and Olam (World Cocoa Foundation,
2015). The World Cocoa Foundation, an organization
consisting of 100 member companies and represent-
ing 80% of the global corporate market, is the conve-
ner and strategy holder of CocoaAction. The
expressed goal is to improve the livelihoods of at
least 300,000 cocoa farmers and their communities
in Ghana and Côte dIvoire by 2020. More specifically,
CocoaAction has two pillars: the Productivity Package
and the Community Development Package. The goal
of the Productivity Package is to make the cultivation
of cocoa more lucrative for local planters through
campaigns to improve access to planting material
and fertilizers. The goals of the Community Develop-
ment package are to eliminate the worst forms of
child labour in cocoa-producing communities, to
increase access to primary-school education and to
increase womens capacity and opportunity to gener-
ate a better income and influence political decisions.
The industrys description of CocoaAction has
strong humanitarian overtones. For example, accord-
ing to Bill Guyton, President of the World Cocoa Foun-
dation, with CocoaAction, industry leaders are
embarking on an unprecedented effort to improve
farmerslives and ensure they benefit more from the
cocoa they grow(quoted in CococAction Progress
Report, March 2015). Similarly, Marina Morari of the
Switzerland-based chocolate manufacturer Barry Call-
ebaut said the following: I am encouraged by the
engagement and determination of CocoaAction par-
ticipants to work together until we get this right to
make a difference in the lives of farmers and their
families(quoted in CocoaAction Progress Report,
November 2015). Barry Parkin from Mars, Incorporated
argued that we have a real opportunity to transform
this industry to the good of millions of farmers and
their families(ibid.). For Christine McGrath of Monde-
lēz International, the goal of CocoaAction is to
work toward the same outcomes for the benefit of
future generations of cocoa farmers and their families
(quoted in CocoaAction Progress Report, March 2015).
Again, however, this altruistic rhetoric betrays an
anxiety over the security of cocoa-bean supply. The
anxiety is only partly expressed in the documents
relating to CocoaAction (CocoaAction Primer, 2016;
CocoaAction, 2015). Diminishing returns and the pro-
jected increase in demand for chocolate (from emer-
ging economies) converged to produce CocoaAction
as it is outlined in the schemes documentation.
CocoaAction employs village leaders in West African
communities to promote the continued cultivation
of cocoa beans. These sustainability schemes have
been very successful, not only in stunting the diversi-
fication process (for example, the growth of rubber
has ceased), but in increasing the output of cocoa.
But for whose benefit? The increasing output of
cocoa has not translated into poverty reduction
among cocoa planters in Côte dIvoire (the situation
is slightly different in Ghana due to mass spraying).
For example a recent study funded by the French
Development Agency and Barry Callebaut found
farmers typically earn less than $1 a day below the
World Banks threshold of extreme poverty for the
country (Balineau et al., 2016). According to the
study, this is the direct result of low cocoa yields.
Prior to 2015, industry-driven cocoa sustainability
schemes had never been independently assessed.
But in 2015, a consortium of European civil-society
organizations, including Oxfam, Solidaridad and the
VOICE network, reported that cocoa-sustainability
schemes sponsored by chocolate multinationals
(including CocoaAction) are fixated on boosting pro-
ductivity, increasing output and encouraging planters
to persist with cocoa farming, as opposed to improv-
ing the livelihoods of poor cocoa planters (Nieburg,
2015; Fountain & Hutz-Adams, 2015). The report
used the theoretical language of the value chain to
show that only 6.6% of the value of a $1 chocolate
bar reaches the farmer, while the chocolate manufac-
turer receives 35.2% and retailing and taxes cost
44.2%. Although the consortium was correct that sus-
tainability schemes are mainly concerned with boost-
ing productivity, it failed to speculate as to whether
cocoa planters might be better off without cocoa.
Cocoa was the subject of the report, not West
African planters; the question, therefore, was how
best to cultivate cocoa, rather than how best to
reduce poverty by better employing production
resources. The consortium concluded the report by
recommending a rise in the price of chocolate to
increase the amount of money that filters down to
cocoa planters.
Clearly, the sustainability schemes sponsored by
chocolate multinationals are designed to guarantee
supply against diversification and the resulting poten-
tial shortage in raw material. These efforts have been
successful: there was even a surplus of cocoa on the
market in 2016 due to the response (especially in
Côte dIvoire) to various sustainability schemes
designed to increase productivity. From the West
African perspective, continued cocoa production
post-diminishing returns not only thwarts changes in
the economic system but and perhaps even more
importantly creates a new form of dependency
among planters on inputs from cocoa multinationals
and NGOs. Sustainability in this sense becomes the
sustainability of raw material: a new form of imperial-
ism wherein small-scale planters are cajoled to con-
tinue producing cocoa beans because the product is
needed by multinationals in the Western world, not
because this is the best option for them. Cocoa
becomes the subject and West African planters the
5. Conclusion
In this article, I have argued that cocoa-sustainability
schemes are designed specifically for ensuring sus-
tained supply. I have shown that there is a link
between the availability of forestland and cocoa culti-
vation and described the difficulties involved in perpe-
tuating the cultivation of cocoa into a post-forest era.
Historically, either migration (which is limited by the
availability of forestland in other regions) or diversifi-
cation (into a different crop or economic activity) has
been pursued to avoid poverty after forest has been
exhausted. A sustainability programme designed to
preserve cocoa supply or stunt diversification in
cocoa-producing areas is anti-developmental,
especially as the product has no domestic use value.
However, such a programme is beneficial to
multinational cocoa companies and consumers in the
developed world. The continued production of cocoa
post-diminishing returns can only occur intensively
or through agricultural involution (involving the use
of more labour and more fertilizers). All told, this will
amount to an increase in poverty among planters.
The fact that the extra input required for post-forest
cultivation is provided by third parties in this case
chocolate multinationals and NGOs does not
devalue the basic argument; the involvement of
these third parties simply creates a system of depen-
dency (and disempowerment) that forces West
African planters to rely on chocolate companies and
NGOs for input.
This is similar to the system in Ghana at present. It is
unclear whether the method used by the Ghanaian
government to manage post-forest cultivation (the
provision of free fertilizers and the free mass spraying
of 99% of cocoa farms) will be profitable in the long
term, once production costs have been factored in.
The Ghanaian government has acknowledged the
risk of unprofitability and has twice attempted to
stop mass spraying, but this has proven to be politi-
cally costly. In a complete analysis, it is possible to
imagine that Ghana would not profit from cocoa pro-
duction if the cost of spraying and other freeinputs
(some provided by multinationals and NGOs) were
included in the overall production cost. For example,
in 2001/2002, the government spent $32 million on
mass spraying in one season (Naminse et al., 2012,p.
3), and the export value of cocoa was $246.7 million
in the same season (ibid.: 9). In the same year, the pro-
ducer share of the world market was roughly 50%. This
excluded administrative and transportation costs,
which the World Bank estimated to be approximately
2832% of the world-market price. In a rough esti-
mate, the government spent almost all of the
revenue it obtained from taxing cocoa on assisting
the sector.
It can therefore be argued that from a developmen-
tal perspective, it is better for West African countries to
diversify than to continue producing cocoa using
intensive methods. In other words, the real develop-
mental question is how best to employ production
factors, not how best to meet the demand for cocoa.
Factor mobility into palm oil or rubber without gov-
ernment assistance is a developmental outcome that
ought to be promoted and encouraged. But the avail-
ability of cocoa does matter to multinationals and
consumers (both in developed economies and,
increasingly, in emerging economies), because the
chocolate confectionery industry acquires its key raw
material from West Africa (Côte dIvoire and Ghana
export more than 60% of global cocoa output). The
position of stakeholders in a development or sustain-
ability scheme is an important clue to the intended
objective of the scheme. NGOs pursuing cocoa sus-
tainability are representing the interests of chocolate
multinationals and Western consumers and thwarting
development in West Africa.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author.
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... However, because of the mounting global concern with the environment and climate change, new areas of research concern the role of innovations such as cocoa agroforestry systems (e.g., Nunoo & Owusu, 2017) and voluntary sustainability standards (VSS)/certification schemes (Fenger et al., 2017;Ingram et al. 2018; Uribe-Leitz & Ruf, 2019) for improving cocoa farmers' incomes and developing a sustainable cocoa sector. In addition to these, most licensed cocoa buying companies and several international NGOs are currently developing cocoa sustainability initiatives and projects that introduce innovations as a way of demonstrating their sustainability goals/objectives and, as argued by some studies, to better control sustainability narratives to consumers (Odijie, 2018). Table 3.1 highlights some of these initiatives implemented by key companies within Ghana's cocoa value chain. ...
... SDMs are a relatively new approach that is still being trialed so there are several unknowns relating to cost-effectiveness, scalability, and financial self-sustainability. Additionally, SDMs may cause the same problems as certification schemes that lead to farmers focusing on a single cash crop, resulting in less diversified land use and more risky business for farmers if they are not supported by crop insurance schemes (Odijie, 2018). ...
Cocoa cultivation is both severely threatened by climate change and a potential contributor to climate change through deforestation. Based on a review of the literature and secondary documents, as well as field observations and interviews, this chapter examines different innovations in Ghana’s cocoa sector, the ways in which they aim to address sustainable cocoa cultivation, and the challenges to their adoption. We find that cocoa farmers are generally open to innovation and new technology. Yet, while farmers respond positively to certain innovations, they do not fully adopt others. This uneven adoption, we argue, is not just a result of limited resources or poor extension services but stems from a failure to address the multiple challenges farmers face when introducing new innovations, including insecure land-use rights, youth disinterest, migration, and seemingly lucrative alternative land use. While promising innovations, such as agroforestry and smartphone applications for agricultural service delivery and training, are currently being implemented, such innovations, we conclude, will only lead to sustainable cocoa cultivation if these broader challenges are addressed, thereby moving beyond a narrower concern with yields and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
... Value chains are typically examined from a consumer perspective, in that consumer demands and preferences determine what value is added and guide the entire chain. However, a development perspective requires consideration of the communities that are the sources of agri-food products (Odijie, 2018;Porter and Kramer, 2011), where in some instances they also act as consumers (especially in shorter value chains), or as actors in the value chain by processing, packaging and transporting (Neilson and Pritchard, 2009). It has also been argued that there are numerous opportunities to combine agri-food value chains with rural communities (Liu et al., 2022), including addressing challenges such as rural decline and demographic "hollowing" , which are often driven by economic changes affecting urban-rural relationships. ...
... migration, price volatilization) resilience to mitigate climate change (e.g. temperature fluctuation facilitating pests and diseases; Odijie, 2018;Ruf and Schroth, 2004) pressures. ...
Agricultural diversification can enhance climate resilience, biodiversity conservation, and livelihood in global farming systems. Diverse agroforestry systems with cocoa have been shown to provide all these benefits, but the often-lower yields compared to monocultures limit agroforestry adoption by smallholder farmers. Cocoa yield is pollination-limited, and here, we quantified the effect of hand pollination in cocoa on fruit set, fruit abortion or cherelle wilt, pest and diseases, and number of mature fruits. Experiments were conducted in Bahia, Brazil, along a shade gradient from low [10-30%] to high [70-100%] canopy cover and with cocoa trees grafted with high-yielding varieties. We found on average 331% fruit set, and 300% mature fruit increase (i.e. ripe pods) per tree by enhancing pollination by hand as little as 10% of the flowers/tree, compared to the control (i.e. with only natural pollination). Fruit set, fruit losses, and mature fruit development linked to hand pollination was higher in low compared to highly shaded cocoa areas. We found 31% higher fruit set and 37% higher number of mature fruits in grafted than un-grafted trees. Further, when comparing efforts invested in hand pollination, minimum labor (~5 min/tree to pollinate 10-30% of the flowers/tree) led to a 871% fruit set and a 750% mature fruit increase under low canopy cover, and intermediate labor (~15 min/tree to pollinate 40-60% flowers/tree) to a 629% fruit set under high canopy cover. As ~5-15 min/tree hand pollination can substantially enhance fruit set and number of mature fruits in low as well as high shade management, we recommend performing hand pollination particularly in agroforests under 40-50% canopy cover to create win-win opportunities for high productivity and climate resilience. Future research should focus on the wide range of agroforestry, tree grafting and innovation strategies in all major production regions to capture the long-term variability of hand pollination as a basis to scale-up hand pollination for sustainable cocoa production globally.
... Nigeria is also the third largest exporter of cocoa beans after Ivory Coast and Ghana. The top two countries (Ivory Coast and Ghana) combined to cultivate more than half of the world's cocoa (WCF, 2013;Odijie, 2018). Cocoa is the most prominent export crop in Nigeria in terms of its production and export capacities (Abdullahi et al., 2021;Nwachukwu et al., 2010). ...
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Cocoa is the most prominent export crop in Nigeria in terms of its production and export capacities. There is dearth of literature on the profitability of the different cropping systems. This study therefore examined the profitability of the different cocoa cropping systems and the factors that affect the revenue of cocoa farmers for each of the cropping systems. The study area was Nigeria and information were collected from one hundred and eighty farmers using well-structured question- naires. Descriptive statistics, budgetary analysis and linear regression were used for analysis in this study. The study revealed that twenty-seven farmers practised sole cocoa cropping, seventy-five farmers practised cocoa/arable cropping and seventy-eight farmers practised cocoa/tree cropping systems, respectively. The mean age of farmers in sole cocoa cropping system was 49.3 years, for cocoa/ arable cropping system the mean age was 47.8 years while for cocoa/tree cropping system the mean age of farmers was 47.2 years. For sole cocoa cropping system, the total cost (TC) was USD 7,764; the gross revenue (GR) was USD 43,774 with USD 36,009 as profit made from the cropping system. The TC for cocoa/tree cropping system in Nigeria was USD 18,003, GR was USD 124,104 and the profit was USD 106,102. Similarly for cocoa/arable cropping system, the TC was USD 16,215, GR was USD 109,849 and profit was USD 93,634. The determinants for the three cocoa cropping systems were age, gender, marital status (married), educational level (primary), cost of seedling, cost of fertilizer, cost of fungicide, cost of herbicide, labour cost for bush clearing, land preparation, weeding and planting. Cocoa/tree and cocoa/arable cropping systems were more profitable than sole cocoa cropping systems. However, cocoa/ tree cropping system was more profitable with a value of USD 106,102.
... migration, price volatilization) resilience to mitigate climate change (e.g. temperature fluctuation facilitating pests and diseases; Odijie, 2018;Ruf and Schroth, 2004) pressures. ...
... Public pressures to make the cocoa sector sustainable and the anticipated uncertainty of the consistent supply of cocoa beans are driving leading chocolate manufacturers and cocoa buying companies to invest in service delivery to farmers. Concerns for the environmental, economic and social challenges of food production, processing and trade have resulted in increased calls for global commodity chains to take direct actions towards sustainability (Odijie, 2018;Vogel et al., 2020). These calls have arisen from a rise in ethical consumerism and businesses' waning public legitimacy (Kroger & Schafer, 2014). ...
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Pressure from the public and non-governmental organisations is pushing lead companies in the cocoa and chocolate sectors towards becoming more environmentally sustainable and socially just. Because of this, several sustainability programmes, certification schemes and delivery initiatives have been introduced. These have changed the relationship between chocolate companies, cocoa exporters, and small-scale farmers. This paper observes how large companies in the cocoa export and consumer markets are shifting away from their traditionally remote position in the cocoa sector. The pressure to ensure sustainability and justice has provoked more mutually dependent relationships with cocoa producers. Our analysis outlines the implications this emerging reconfiguration of global-local relationships has for procedural justice principles of interdependence and refutability, and the distributive justice principles of need and equity. These principles are important because they enable the different dimensions of inclusion: ownership, voice, risk, and reward. This paper highlights and qualifies arrangements surrounding these justice principles that manifest in the way five service delivery initiatives - associated with sustainability programmes and led by major buying companies in Ghana’s cocoa sector – are implemented. We show inclusiveness as an outcome of dynamic global-local relationships that are constantly reworked in response to smallholder farmers’ agency and state regulations. Portraying inclusiveness as an outcome of interactions changes its conceptualisation from a predefined ethical standpoint included in the design of standards to a result of unfolding mutual dependencies, which refashion how inclusive agriculture value chains work.
... In response to the global demand for ethical cocoa, chocolate firms in recent decades have been operating certification programmes that serve as alternative forms of cocoa supply chain governance in Ghana (Krauss & Barrientos, 2021;Odijie, 2018;cf. Jaffee, 2007). ...
Critical studies on the interlinkages of access, power and sustainability in high value tropical commodity systems are gaining traction in the academic literature. This article draws on access theory to examine how the distributional effects of a private sector certification programme on rural cocoa growing communities are bound up in the power relations between the state, private sector actors and smallholders in Ghana. The article is based on a qualitative case study approach involving 40 semi-structured interviews, 20 in-depth interviews and field observations conducted between 2018 and 2021. We found that the private sector firm certification incentives such as premiums, agronomic inputs and technical services are distributed unevenly, and also contribute to increased production costs, theft, unjust gender relations, and labour exploitation. We argue that the certification programmes obfuscate the deteriorating relations between the state and the farmers and enable the private firms to gain foothold and affirm their operational legitimacy and market links with smallholders. We conclude that revising the certification programmes would require market and institutional reform. The revision also needs to take into account the existing structural differences among farmers, and between the state and the market for better sustainable transitions.
... Corporations thereby risk side-lining the livelihoods and concerns of already marginalized cocoa smallholders (Ahenkan & Boon, 2010). Similar to the CCP in Peru described in Section 5.2.1, the intensification narratives for the cocoa cash crop dominant in CSC have so far neither transformed trajectories of deforestation, nor markedly improved smallholder livelihoods (Krauss, 2018;Maguire-Rajpaul et al., 2016;Odijie, 2018Odijie, , 2019. ...
A confluence of concerns about tropical forest loss, global warming, and social inequality drive calls to transform land use governance. Yet there is widespread debate about what must be transformed, by whom, and how. The increasing equation of transformation with ambitious, quantitative global targets, such as “net zero emissions” or “zero deforestation” has gained widespread appeal as a means to inspire action and hold powerful actors to account. However presenting targets themselves as the end goals of transformation, obscures both the means of achieving them and the social and environmental values that legitimate them. The escalation of targets for land use, in particular, is disconnected from targeted geographies, lacks accountability to socially diverse knowledge and priorities, and is readily appropriated by powerful actors at multiple scales. This paper argues instead, for an equity‐based approach to transformation that reveals how unequal power distorts both the ends and the means of global governance. We illustrate this argument with five case‐study “vignettes” in Indonesia, Ghana, Peru, and Brazil that reveal how de‐contextualized, target‐based thinking has reinforced state and corporate control over resources at the expense of local access, while largely failing to deliver the promised environmental outcomes. We conclude that equity‐focused, case study research is critical not only to unpack the local consequences of pursuing global targets, but also to make visible alternative efforts to achieve deeper socio‐environmental transformations.
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Empirical research shows that most African countries (for example, Ghana) are rich in natural resources and contribute their resources to the economic growth and development of the global economy. Ghana has valuable, semi-valuable, and industrial mineral resources-ideal geological and metallogenic conditions, policy orientation, and social and macroeconomic stability. Furthermore, the correlation analysis method combines information gathered from literary works with the co-authors' questions, the Supreme Court, administrative records, printed and digital sources discoveries on the factors and conditions of the mining process in the country. Which characterizes the intensity of mining production-calculating the correlation between each annual output based on the mining variables using several countries and mining communities' factors that were determined and utilized as the comparison sequence. Ghana's impact on the global bauxite mining industry cannot be overstated, given that the West African nation possesses some of the world's largest reserves of this restorative material. Ghana has significantly im-pacted the extraction, refining, and utilization of bauxite globally. According to the study's findings, Ghana's mining operations for bauxite and other minerals are predominantly concentrated in the Ashanti, Western, Northern, Eastern , and Central regions, with the Brong-Ahafo region used as the study's focus on the global economy. The research also investigates Ghana's ability to attract investors to utilize these abundant resources for world production and the potential implications of bauxite mining on a global scale. Adopting measures and technical solutions have been presented to decrease the effects of illegal mining on the Environment's damage and health risks in the mining zones.
The previous chapters have outlined the development of agricultural structures and policies in the FRG, GDR and reunified Germany, within the context of European agricultural policy and international trade policy. Throughout the previous discussion the potential environmental implications of agricultural structural change and intensification of production have been mentioned. The aim of this chapter is to analyse the past and present situation of German agriculture and the environment1 and to investigate in detail environmental implications of recent policy development in pre- and post-reunification Germany.
African economic history has undergone impressive revitalization in the past decade. Much of the recent work is, quite naturally, inspired by developments in economic history at large, and increasingly – indirectly or directly – using markets as the organizing principle in understanding how economies evolve over time. More specifically, recent work assumes that markets create the possibility to use resources more efficiently, which, theoretically, enables economies to grow as long as institutions adjust and enable the population to exploit the arising opportunities. That is, the current works in African economic history are to a large extent grounded in Smithian growth models, labelled after Adam Smith's work on the mechanisms of long-term growth. This paper critically discusses the explanatory value of the Smithian growth models for understanding the long-term economic development in Africa. The latter is best described as recurrent growth episodes, and we argue that while Smithian models can account for initial periods of growth, they fail to explain why the growth was not sustained. We use the boom and busts of cocoa production in Ghana in the twentieth century as a case in point. We show that the decline in cocoa production was not caused by state policies distorting the functions of the markets, as the Smithian growth models suggest. Instead, the decline in production was an outcome of changes in the ecological and institutional conditions that caused the initial growth. The irony is that it was the initial growth in cocoa production that altered the conditions, making further growth in production impossible. We capture these changes – for the first time ever – by combining the concepts of forest rents and involutionary growth in an African case.
The diversification model proposed in Chapter 1 emphasizes ecological change after a few decades of quasi-monoculture. Is it also a primary determinant of diversification for the world’s leading producer of cocoa? In the early-to-mid 2010s, cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire is above 1.5 million tonnes per year. This growth dynamic is mainly explained by the universal model of cocoa economies: new migrations leading to massive clearing of forests. The decline of the old cocoa farms rarely appears in statistics due to the massive new planting mostly at the expense of the last pockets of forests. However, in the old cocoa and coffee regions, the lure of rubber and oil palm cultivation has increasingly gone hand in hand with lower cocoa yields, the fight against insect damage and diseases, and difficulties of replanting. It has led to the clearing of cocoa plantations or the cultivation of rubber in the understory of old cocoa trees waiting to be felled. In addition to factors of price and public policy (for example, the creation of a hybrid oil palm and clonal rubber sectors in the 1960s), the process of diversification was partly driven by deforestation and exhaustion of the forest rent. For many smallholders, even more than markets and cocoa prices which need a serious stimulus, and besides the land conflicts, the answer rests on the ability of research and the chocolate industry to come up with technological advances applicable at low cost to help them to solve the universal problems of cocoa replanting.
Cocoa and Chocolate,1765-1914 focuses on the period from the Seven Years War, to the First World War, when a surge of economic liberalism and globalisation should have helped cocoa producers to overcome rural poverty, just as wool transformed the economy of Australia, and tea that of Japan. The addition of new forms of chocolate to Western diets in the late nineteenth century led to a great cocoa boom, and yet economic development remained elusive, despite cocoa producers having certain advantages in the commodity lottery faced by exporters of raw materials. The commodity chain, from sowing a cocoa bean to enjoying a cup of hot chocolate, is examined in Cocoa and Chocolate, 1765-1914 under the broad rubrics of chocolate consumption, the taxation of cocoa beans, the manufacture of chocolate, private marketing channels, land distribution, ecological impact on tropical forests, and the coercion of labour. Cocoa and Chocolate, 1765-1914 concludes that cocoa failed to act as a dynamo for development.
Many historical processes exhibit recurrent patterns of change. Century-long periods of population expansion come before long periods of stagnation and decline; the dynamics of prices mirror population oscillations; and states go through strong expansionist phases followed by periods of state failure, endemic sociopolitical instability, and territorial loss. Peter Turchin and Sergey Nefedov explore the dynamics and causal connections between such demographic, economic, and political variables in agrarian societies and offer detailed explanations for these long-term oscillations--what the authors call secular cycles. Secular Cycleselaborates and expands upon the demographic-structural theory first advanced by Jack Goldstone, which provides an explanation of long-term oscillations. This book tests that theory's specific and quantitative predictions by tracing the dynamics of population numbers, prices and real wages, elite numbers and incomes, state finances, and sociopolitical instability. Turchin and Nefedov study societies in England, France, and Russia during the medieval and early modern periods, and look back at the Roman Republic and Empire. Incorporating theoretical and quantitative history, the authors examine a specific model of historical change and, more generally, investigate the utility of the dynamical systems approach in historical applications. An indispensable and groundbreaking resource for a wide variety of social scientists,Secular Cycleswill interest practitioners of economic history, historical sociology, complexity studies, and demography.