Photographs of the cocoa supply chain, Ghana

Here’s the best of the photos of a recent trip to Ghana to look at the cocoa supply chain.

Some of the farms and villages here are selling some cocoa under fair trade. Others are in the Cadbury/Kraft cocoa partnership, with assistance from the company to improve their villages and lives.

Donations and village scheme funding is based on collaborative planning by villagers/farmers, and funds available under the cocoa plan.

I saw one of the community action plans put together by a village we visited and it was impressive.

(Click on this photograph above to view a 50 photograph slideshow of images from the villages and farms)

Here’s the link to the slideshow format.

Conditions on all these farms were largely good, (by comparison with most others, from what I heard) and it seemed obvious to me that Fair Trade premiums and the Cadbury/Kraft funding for villages assisted by their Cocoa partnership had really made a difference to the lives of the villagers in the short time it has been in place.

Nevertheless, you can see that significant challenges remain. The rise in the average age of cocoa farmers (more than 50) as children head to the cities is one concern.

Another is child labour (although one must be careful not to assume those children in these pictures fall under a negative definition of child labour as whether that is the case in these photographs is not clear. I would think it very unlikely).

A third would be what companies and the government in Ghana can further do to help farmers. Cadbury/Kraft’s Cocoa Plan is an excellent start, but of course is a drop in the ocean compared with the number of cocoa farmers (over 700,000) in the country. Cadbury/Kraft cannot help them all. At least, not soon enough to ensure sustainability in the cocoa supply chain in Ghana.

Other companies must step in, and make contributions beyond simply trying to tackle child labour in the country as that is too narrow an approach.

To put this in context. Out of more than 700,000 cocoa farmers in Ghana, some 63,000 are in the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative group. And around 40% of the coca from this most advanced of co-operative systems in the country receives the fair trade premium.

There is a long way to go to ensure the cocoa supply chain in Ghana can become sustainable. Particularly given that Kuapa Kokoo feels it must now grow much more slowly to ensure it can maintain standards and the integrity of its model.

The hope is that the Fair Trade co-operative model and schemes like the Cadbury/Kraft Cocoa partnership can help show the way for the government and other cocoa sourcing companies to step and help these impoverished farmers.

Cocoa farming must become attractive to young people on the farms, or even from the towns and cities of Ghana, for it to be sustainable in the long term. The long term is not that far away considering the average age of the farmers.

Six podcasts from the cocoa farms of Ghana, with farmers, NGOs and company executives, will be posted shortly on our podcasts page, here.

We’ll be publishing further articles and blogs on this topic soon. Check www.ethicalcorp.com details and sign up to our weekly eBrief at: http://www.ethicalcorp.com. You can also sign up for updates from this blog at: http://www.ethicalcorp.com/content.asp?ContentID=6990

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