The Cocoa Certification Program and Its Effect on Sustainable Cocoa Production in Ghana: A Case Study in Upper Denkyira West District

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The impact of voluntary standards and certification schemes on the sustainability of cocoa production of Ghana was investigated in the Upper Denkyira West District (UDW) from August 2012 to March 2014. Three schemes including Utz Certified, Rainforest Alliance (RA) Certified and Conventional systems of production was done from five communities in the district. Soil chemical analyses of 15 different farms were used for the study under each of the production system and percent shade trees cover and profitability estimate per acre were determined. Formal socio-economic sample surveys of 50 respondents under each production systems were used to study farmers’ perceptions on voluntary standard and certifications schemes. The C and K were significant (P<0.001) higher in RA (2.984% and 0.624cmol+/kg) than Utz (2.218% and 0.472 cmol+/kg) than conventional farms (0.997% and 0.137 cmol+/kg) respectively and Organic Matter significant (P<0.001) higher in Utz Certified and RA Certified than conventional (3.474%, 3.444% and 1.085%) respectively. The P was significant (P<0.005) higher in Utz (8.703 mg/kg and RA of 8.220 mg/kg) than the conventional (2.543 mg/kg). However, for soil pH and N, there were no significant differences among Utz Certified, RA Certified and conventional means. On perception indexes of cocoa sustainability, the overall score for Utz Certified and RA Certified were higher than their conventional counterparts with respect to buffer zones, records on the quantity of agrochemical and active ingredient of herbicide used. All systems of production recorded below the 40% shade tree cover on the cocoa farm per acre however differ in control plans by farmers to increase shade trees on the farm. However, the active ingredient of insecticides and fungicide used were within the approved lists of pesticides by Ghana Cocoa Board. Economic indicators (B/C Ratio, NPV and IRR) estimated show that cocoa production in general is profitable at a 24% discount rate. The study therefore established that Utz Certified and RA Certified farms were sustainably higher than the conventional farms in respect of cocoa production in Ghana.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master of Science Degree In Environmental Science