cocoa Governance & Advocacy Project

Governance Reforms for a Sustainable Cocoa Sector in Ghana

Cocoa is an important agro-commodity in West Africa, contributing significantly to the socio-economic well-being of many households in the sub-region. Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana despite accounting for 65% of global cocoa supply in 2019/2020 cocoa season both countries earned only 6% of the global cocoa/chocolate industry which is estimated about $100billion. Compounding the problem is the sturdy decline in the global price of cocoa, leaving most cocoa farmers in poverty.  As a result, child labour and deforestation are on the rise and there are not enough young people interested in cocoa farming to replace the aging farmers’ population.

In Ghana, these problems are worsened by, poor standards of governanceweak law enforcement and the non-inclusion of farmers voices in decision making. Most decisions about cocoa are made by COCOBOD that is not known for its transparency, accountability or inclusion of stakeholders. Even though farmers are organized into cooperatives, they are mostly focused on cocoa production. Civil society is only now beginning to organize in this sector. There is clearly a need for governance reform: to strengthen the role and voices of civil society and farmers to engage in both the national and international deliberations on cocoa.

 Several efforts are being made to address these challenges in the cocoa sector. For example, in July 2019, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire collectively imposed a Living Income Differential (LID) of $400 per tonne of cocoa to guarantee some level of stability for the farmer. When fully operational and properly implemented, the LID has the potential to contribute significantly to resolving some of the challenges in the sector, as the main problem of the farmer is the unfair cocoa price that results in poverty. There is also the Cocoa and Forests Initiative seeking to address the threat of deforestation and environmental challenges in the cocoa supply chain as well as improving social inclusion.

The EU, like other cocoa import destinations, has started a process towards due diligence regulation for forest risk commodities to ultimately eliminate child labour and trafficking, and end deforestation. The current discussion in Europe and United Kingdom on due diligence regulation has the potential of opening the sector for effective governance reform through multi-stakeholder approaches. The EU & UK due diligence regulation processes aim at promoting the use of multi-stakeholder approaches in cocoa producing countries to address challenges in the sector. 

To make these efforts effective and responsive at the national level, there is the need for nationally driven governance reform of the cocoa sector.  That is, multi-stakeholder approaches that directly tackles the fundamental challenges in the sector. One that ensures that the voices of farmers reflect in decisions about cocoa: an environment where information is available and accessible, and regulators are accountable to farmers.  In Ghana, the changes made in the Forestry sector through a similar instrument called Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) is an evident to the potential of such approaches in reforming the cocoa sector.

The Cocoa Advocacy Project therefore seeks to leverage on existing opportunities, improve awareness creation, mobilize CSOs and strengthen the capacity of stakeholders to reform the sector through a multi-stakeholder approach.


The overall objective of the work/project is to realize a reformed cocoa sector where decisions are being made through an effective multi-stakeholder process.

The specific objectives are;

  1. To improve cocoa governance in Ghana through targeted advocacy and stakeholder mobilization
  2. To facilitate and consolidate civil society actions in cocoa sector reform in Ghana by leveraging ongoing due diligence reforms in EU & UK.


Expected Outputs:

Output 1: COCOBOD, MLNR and MoFA sensitized about the need for governance reform in the cocoa sector

Output 2: Civil Society coordinated and demanding governance reform in the cocoa sector

Output 3: Demand side measures as catalyst for supply side reform processes in cocoa producing countries highlighted



The main beneficiaries of the wok/project will include;

  • Ghana Cocoa Board
  • Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources
  • Ministry of Food and Agriculture
  • Cocoa Licensed Buying Companies
  • Local Civil Society Organizations in the cocoa sector
  • Cocoa Farmer-based Organizations
  • Cocoa Farmers



The work/project is designed to take between 24 – 36 months to realize expected outcomes and achieve the objectives. But it will have annual targets and plan of work with their own expected deliverables. The strategy and approach shall be reviewed every 12 months taking into consideration milestones achieved and the changing dynamics of the cocoa advocacy sector.

Implementing Partner:  Ghana Civil-society Cocoa Platform


Fern and Gower Street Foundation.