Assessment of food system resilience: the case of cocoa in Ghana

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Thematic Focus:
Agriculture, Biodiversity and Sustainability
Involved Countries:
Switzerland, Ghana

Is Affiliated to:

Received Funding By:

This research has the objective to assess the resilience of the cocoa value chain in Ghana. The cocoa value chain (production, processing, retailing and consumption) in Ghana is susceptible to various types of shocks (natural hazards, socio-political conflicts, economic crisis) which can have detrimental impacts on the provision of sufficient and safe supply of cocoa at all times. Thus, translating aspects of food security into the functioning of the cocoa value chain during times of disturbance, is the primary objective of this proposed research. Through direct consultation and interviews with key stakeholders (farmers, LBCs, processors, retailers and consumer organization), the level (degree) of resilience of the cocoa value chain during specific scenarios (shocks) is determined. In a follow-up meeting with the same stakeholders (workshop) 2 months after the first field visit, results are shared and solutions designed in a participatory-based approach.

As this funding source offers to kick-start research collaborations in Ghana, Kwame Nla-umah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and ETH Zurich aim to start a collaboration on this topic. Linking international and local knowledge is crucial for the understanding of how the cocoa value chain in Ghana performs during times of disturbances (shocks). Thus, our partner at KNUST has extensive experience in conducting research in various processes of the cocoa value chain whereas the Sustainable Agroecosystems Group at ETH Zurich is leading the flagship project of the World Food System Center at ETH Zurich on “Enhancing Resilience in Food Systems”.

Since this application is for a kick-start grant, we would like to use this opportunity to test how our theoretical understanding of food system resilience can be applied on an actual case study, such as the resilience of the cocoa value chain in Ghana. Thus, the planned steps for this proposed research also has the objective to serve for further studies. In other words, we would like to see what the potential is to conduct further research with our partner at KNUST and therefore request an exchange visit of our African applicant. We have also budgeted travel costs for one master student to conduct field work (interviews), which could allow him/her to use the gained knowledge and experiences for designing a potential PhD study in the future.

The objectives of our project are:
1.   Based on theoretical and empirical studies on Ghana’s cocoa value chain, identify its structure, functions, stakeholders and outputs.
2.   Assess  the  resilience  of the  cocoa  value  chain  for  a  selected  number  of  scenarios (shocks).
3.   Deliver recommendations for enhancing the resilience of the cocoa value chain.

Dr Jörin Jonas, ETHZ, Zürich
Dr Ewans Dawoe, KNUST, Agroforestry Dept., FRNR KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana