Image by Mikkel Houmøller, via Wikimedia Commons.  Accessed 29.01.2018


More than two million small-scale farms in Ivory Coast and Ghana produce nearly 60% of the world’s supply of cocoa (Quartz, 12.05.2017), but an increase in cross-border smuggling between the two countries is putting the sector in both countries at risk.

While cocoa smuggling between Ghana and Ivory Coast is common – with its direction frequently shifting back and forth depending on the difference in how the price of cocoa is fixed each season between the two neighbouring countries – the issue has been exacerbated by a worldwide oversupply of cocoa, which has resulted in prices dropping to a 10-year low of US $1,756 per tonne (FT, 22.06.2017).

Nevertheless, illicit practices within Ghana’s cocoa industry are not constrained to small-scale smuggling. Allegations of corruption and mismanagement within Ghana’s cocoa sector regulator, Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), are damaging Ghana’s international reputation as a reliable supplier.

Impact Points

  • Ghana’s cocoa industry is worth US $2 billion, yet a lack of transparency or accountability has allowed corruption and mismanagement within the sector’s regulator to flourish, damaging Ghana’s reputation as a producer and supplier.
  • Corruption within the industry has also enabled the cross-border smuggling of cocoa to thrive and develop, which – combined with a worldwide fall in cocoa prices –  poses a further risk to Ghana’s cocoa farmers and the sector in general.
  • Nevertheless, the election of President Nana Akufo-Addo appears to have heralded a much-needed overhaul of both Cocobod and the wider cocoa industry, which may help Ghana retain its reputation as a reliable cocoa producer.