From Bean to Bar: Empowering Small-Scale Entrepreneurs in Ghana and Ivory Coast

The foundation of a story lies in its pillars, where a rich resource transitions into actual utilization. Entrepreneurs in Ghana and Ivory Coast are forging ahead, leveraging their status as leading exporters of cocoa beans to the world market. Despite this, the farmers behind this industry seldom taste the chocolate they help produce. Over the years, the narrative has shifted, capturing the attention of cocoa farmers and emphasizing opportunities to foster young entrepreneurs in their respective countries (Reuters).

The export market for cocoa beans has strayed from benefiting the economic potential of farmers. In the 1970s, farmers received nearly 50 percent of the value of a chocolate bar, whereas now they receive only six percent of the final product’s value. This underscores the importance of establishing the Living Income Differential Policy.

Living Income Differential Policy

The policy, established in 2019 jointly by Ivory Coast and Ghana, aims to raise the farmgate price share that farmers receive from the value of the global chocolate market, ultimately providing them with a decent standard of living.

In an era where marketing strategies increasingly influence consumer choices, a significant portion of the value of chocolate bars—44 percent—flows to chocolate manufacturers, while 35 percent benefits retailers. The journey of cocoa beans begins with their export to various entities, including buyers, international grinders, and renowned companies such as Nestle, Cadbury, and Hershey. This high demand for cocoa beans has sparked a surge of interest within communities to harness these beans domestically, potentially bolstering international revenue for the country (Barcley).

Cocoa farmers serve as the backbone of this industry, playing a pivotal role in its ecosystem. Despite the challenges inherent in the demand-supply chain, farmers diligently toil to secure their livelihoods. Often operating as smallholders, they sell their produce to large-scale buyers, who then supply these beans to billionaire chocolate conglomerates.

Acknowledging the complexities and issues associated with cocoa farming practices, both NGOs and corporate entities have intervened to support cocoa plant management initiatives. Entities like Ecookim have been instrumental in this regard, working collaboratively to address sustainability and environmental concerns while ensuring the prosperity of cocoa farming communities (reNature).

Figure 1: An woman harvesting cocoa pods (source from pixabay)

Pursuing small-scale entrepreneurs, it is important to uplift their engagement in bringing the rightful resources to the cocoa farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast despite their hard work. Revolutionary impact on the country’s economy, they can withstand the valuation provided to the raw material in the country (adams).

jenin rathnayake

An environmentalist with a passion for exploring the potential to mitigate the impact of climate resilience in agricultural practices. Writer and researcher in using technology to understand the association of climatic changes.

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