Maintaining Quality Standards in the face of internal market competition in Ghana’s Cocoa Industry: A case study of Offinso Municipality

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Cocoa purchasing in Ghana was privatised in 1992 following liberalisation of the cocoa sector. The privatisation brought in its wake intense competition among Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) in the internal market for cocoa. Issues that bothered on the maintenance of cocoa quality came up in the wake of the privatisation as a consequence of competition. Quality is the secret behind the patronage for Ghana’s cocoa. This research is a case study conducted into the impact/effects of liberalisation and privatisation on quality of cocoa purchased within the Offinso Municipality. The objective is to determine how liberalisation, privatisation and competition in cocoa marketing can be converted into high production, high product quality, and high producer prices for cocoa farmers. Non-scientific sampling techniques were used in selecting respondents, while both quantitative and qualitative methods of research were employed in the data collection and analysis. The findings are that privatisation and competition have improved farmers’ earnings while quality standard of cocoa in the municipality is still high. Ghana’s earnings from cocoa have also increased. However, to some extent the quality standard of cocoa has dropped due to some farmers and officials of QCC not living up to their responsibility of ensuring cocoa quality at the farm-gate. The problem has also been attributed to greed of LBCs in the municipality. The study concludes with a call on stakeholders in the industry to guard against any practice that will dent the reputation of Ghana as producer of best quality cocoa so as to maintain the quality premium we enjoy as a result. Recommends have therefore been made to COCOBOD, QCC, LBCs, PCs and cocoa farmers to help maintain cocoa quality standard in the midst of the competition. Some recommendations have also been made to government particularly on how the cocoa sector in Ghana can be utilised effectively for national development.
A Thesis submitted to the Institute of Distance Learning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Commonwealth Executive Masters in Business Administration,