Ghana and trade
Almost 90% of all of Ghana's cocoa is grown on smallholdings: tiny farms that are smaller than 3 hectares in size. About 2.5 million smallholders in Ghana grow cocoa as their main crop. Most of the cocoa is sold for export; only about 5% of Ghana's cocoa crop is processed into chocolate in Ghana.
Currently about 75% of Ghana's cocoa beans are exported to the European Union. The main importing countries are the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France. The beans are ground into cocoa powder in these countries. Some of this powder is then exported to other EU countries where the chocolate is made.
The main producers of chocolate are in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the UK and Austria. The production of cocoa beans goes up and down from year to year. Production depends on a number of factors such as weather conditions, pests and diseases. The production has fluctuated over a ten-year period.
Most cocoa beans are processed into cocoa powder before being used in the manufacture of chocolate. When the demand is higher than supply the price for cocoa beans export is high.
Map of Ghana
The problem with the cocoa trade
One major problem for cocoa growers is that the price they get for their crop is so low. The average income for a cocoa farmer is only about £160 a year. This is because of the way in which primary commodities such as cocoa beans are traded on the world market. Traders in Europe buy cocoa beans on the London Stock exchange. They shop around and buy the beans from whichever supplier is cheapest. I's a buyer's market. If Ghana's farmers are asking too much for their beans the buyers will shop around and buy from the Cote d'Ivoire or whoever is cheapest. The price can go up or down from day to day, depending on supply and demand. The fluctuating price makes it very difficult for farmers in Ghana to earn a fair wage for all of their work.