The forthcoming book by Shashi Kolavalli and Marcella Vigneri, The Cocoa Coast: The Board-Managed Cocoa Sector in Ghana, seeks to understand the success of a sector revived through the restructuring of a parastatal, namely the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), in an era of market liberalization. The book studies the drivers of success of the cocoa sector in Ghana, assesses the impact of this success on farm-households’ welfare, and explores the implications of this success for the appropriateness of reform measures that routinely include market liberalization and abolishing marketing boards.
The COCOBOD’s commitment to increase producer share as part of the reforms led to an increase in producers’ share in export prices to over 50 percent. The government retains a significant portion of the export revenue to provide supports, such as subsidized inputs and plant protection spraying, for improving and expanding cocoa production. Over the past two decades production increased to reach a million tons in 2010 and it has stabilized around 800,000 tons. The incidence of poverty decreased more among cocoa producing households compared to other food crop farmers.
Despite of this, the efficiency of the cocoa-sector parastatals remains an area of concern. For instance, producer share of export prices has been increased largely by forgoing tax revenues rather than reducing marketing costs. Corroborating to this, are some services provided by the COCOBOD that are wasteful and do not benefit producers universally. In such contexts, various questions arise regarding the feasibility of reforms without market liberalization. By exploring the political-economy of the cocoa sector in Ghana, the book identifies the conditions under which marketing board arrangements can be beneficial and evolve as an alternative to full market liberalization.
A formal book launch will be held in Accra in February 2018. Stay tuned for further announcements!
Until then, a synopsis of the book is available here for your reading.