In or out?: Exploring selection processes of farmers in cocoa sustainability standards and certification programmes in Ghana

Skalidou, Dafni (2018) In or out?: Exploring selection processes of farmers in cocoa sustainability standards and certification programmes in Ghana. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The sustainability of the global cocoa sector is currently being tested by acute deforestation, rampant poverty among cocoa farmers and fears of future cocoa supply shortages. Cocoa Sustainability Standards and their subsequent Certifications (SSC) are seen as a win-win solution to these challenges for both farmers and the industry. Nevertheless, questions regarding who is able to participate and potentially benefit from such interventions and, just as importantly, who is not, remain under-researched. Taking Ghana, the world’s second-largest producer of certified cocoa, as a case study, this thesis draws on actor and network approaches (Long, 1989; Latour, 1987), theory-based evaluation (Weiss, 1997; Pawson and Tilley, 2004) and the Sustainable Rural Livelihoods framework (Scoones, 1998) to unpack selection processes. It uses primary qualitative data from industry informants and farmers from the Brong Ahafo region, as well as national level secondary quantitative survey data to understand how farmers are externally selected, through programme placement and participant targeting, and self selected into SSC programmes.

Findings suggest that SSC placement is business-oriented when programmes are driven by SSC implementing actors, with farmer-centered criteria gaining influence when funding and certifying actors are involved. In terms of targeting, farmers lacking land entitlements, like sharecroppers and their wives, tend to be left out of SSC related activities and the distribution of benefits, even when producing certified cocoa. Further,farmers’ dependence on credit determines their selling strategies and therefore their self selection in or out of SSC programmes, when participation is conditional on selling to a particular buyer. In the absence of selling conditionality, selection is shaped by the farmers’ ability and willingness to adopt the standards.

Overall, better-off farmers are more likely to participate in SSC programmes, while landless, credit-dependent and isolated farmers tend to be left out, suggesting that if SSC are to advance the interests of both farmers and industry, issues of inclusiveness need to be addressed both at the policy and implementation level.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Global Development (formerly School of International Development)
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 30 May 2019 11:51
Last Modified: 30 May 2019 11:51


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