Cocoa industry in Ghana

During a three-month stay in Ghana, the minor group has investigated the business opportunities of the Ghanaian cocoa industry for Farmerline. This was done to help Farmerline expand their activities. 

Four phases formed a structure for this report, these process; starting at the research phase. The minor group has done extensive research in The Netherlands to understand all aspects of the cocoa sector, including cultural differences, Ghana’s demography and its history. The cocoa industry in Ghana is completely controlled by the government. Cocoa farmers sell their yield for a fixed price per cocoa bag set by the government every year. They are only allowed to sell their cocoa to LBCs. The LBC is the middleman that transports and checks the quality of the cocoa. They subsequently sell the bags to Cocobod for another fixed price. Cocobod sells the cocoa in the harbours on the international market.  


In Delft, the minor group developed a business model where the TAHMO weather information forms the foundation for a weather forecast broadcasted through the radio. The radio programme functions as an advertisement to trigger listening cocoa farmers to contact their LBC to subscribe to services of Farmerline. The LBC pays for this subscription and in return the cocoa farmer agrees to sell all his yield to this LBC.


When the minor group arrived in Kumasi, Ghana, meetings were held with the three key stakeholders of the cocoa industry: cocoa farmers, the LBCs and Cocobod. This research was valorised to know exactly where to build further on. During the valorisation it became clear that the designed business model needed some change. The LBCs were only interested in the direct benefits for themselves and expressed that it is impossible to make such arrangements with cocoa farmers. Next to this, the radio was not the best medium to reach out to the cocoa farmers. They all listen to different radio channels which makes the range of a single channel too short. Cocoa farmers also do not believe the commercials on the radio. In the execution phase there have been developed three business models, each targeting one key stakeholder. The cocoa farmers are sent daily voice messages by Farmerline. The cocoa farmers will be direct consumers of Farmerline and pay a monthly fee. The LBCs become clients of Farmerline and start using the MERGdata platform that gives access to the size and productivity of their cocoa farms. This is a business to business approach where the LBCs are offered a platform to manage all their data. The MERGdata platform also gives them the opportunity to send questionnaires to their cocoa farmers.

Cocobod partners with Farmerline to have them built a complete digital tracking system of the cocoa bags. From sealing the bags in the LBCs’ warehouses to the chocolate makers in the Western market, the cocoa is traceable back to the specific cocoa farmer. In addition, the minor group has designed a pilot to test the efficacy of a referral system for cocoa farmers. This pilot should examine if having cocoa farmers referring to others, helps grow the number of paying farmers. The pilot starts in two districts from the LBC Adwumapa. Both districts consist of several communities where cocoa farmers live. In the first district every cocoa farmer of only one community gets a free trial of the voice message service of Farmerline. If the cocoa farmer wants to extend this trial, he needs to refer to other cocoa farmers and convince them to start the free trial as well. In the second district, only one farmer of every community gets the free trial. This farmer also needs to acquire referrals to extend his trial. 

The pilot also tests which referral system is most effective; the approach in the first or second district. The minor group highly recommends Farmerline test this pilot and have further meetings with the three key stakeholders to fully take advantage of the business models that have been written.


This report offers all the information and tools to conquer the cocoa market of Ghana at every level.