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Cocoa pods at a cocoa tree

Cocoa pods at a cocoa tree

August until October 2022
Data collection in Ghana

It's travel time again in the WG Human Geography with focus on economic geography: Our research assistant Jana Rülke is currently in Ghana to collect data for the CoVaCoa project, which is funded by the DBU, as well as for her dissertation. On site she is meeting cocoa farmers from different cooperatives, representatives of governmental organizations, cocoa traders and chocolate companies. She gains deep insights into the complex cocoa production network, from bean to bar.

5th until 8th of July 2022
International Association People - Environment Studies Conference

View on the street in Ghana

In July, the four research assistants of the CoVaCoa project: Shirin Betzler, Miles Ahlemann, Hannes Campe and Jana Rülke were supposed to travel to Lisbon for the 27th conference of the
International Association People - Environment Studies (IAPS)
.
This year's conference is titled: "Global challenges, local impacts: rethinking governance, sustainability and consumption in light of climate change". Due to the ongoing pandemic situation, the conference will therefore take place digitally again this year. We are represented with one poster presentation & three presentations in the form of individual contributions.

Presentation of the interim results within the framework of the Great Study Project in Ghana 2021

Presentation of the interim results within the framework of the Great Study Project in Ghana 2021

Cocoa pods at a cocoa tree

Cocoa pods at a cocoa tree

Cocoa beans during fermentation on banana leaves

Cocoa beans during fermentation on banana leaves

Dried cocoa beans in a jute sack

Dried cocoa beans in a jute sack

CRIG employees opening the cocoa pods before fermentation

CRIG employees opening the cocoa pods before fermentation

Excursion group of the Great Study Project Ghana 2021 in Accra

Excursion group of the Great Study Project Ghana 2021 in Accra

Isaac Ntiamoah & Jana Rülke during an interview with a smallholder cocoa farmer near Goaso

Isaac Ntiamoah & Jana Rülke during an interview with a smallholder cocoa farmer near Goaso

February until April 2022
Data collection in Ghana

Miles Ahlemann is currently in Ghana to explore the governance structure of Ghana's cocoa sector through qualitative interviews. These interviews with representatives of Cocobod's various departments focus on Cocobod's perception of problems and decision-making processes, as well as the most recent measures to promote economic, social, and environmental sustainability within the sector. After approximately two months of studying the main state actor, he is now about to leave for the Ashanti region to capture the perspective of diverse private sector actors there. This section of the study will focus on the effects of the previously examined state measures on non-state actors. It will also examine the scope and relevance of non-state actors and private sector initiatives in promoting social and environmental sustainability within Ghana's cocoa sector.

December 2021
Implementation of the consumer survey in Germany Experiments of work package WP3

In December 2021, an online experiment was conducted to investigate how consumers of chocolate react to different types of messages. Approximately 800 test persons participated in this experiment, each of whom read one of four different texts. These texts were either personal or objective reports about cocoa farming in Ghana, describing either the problems of unsustainable or the opportunities of sustainable production. Subsequently, we surveyed the impact of each type of message on the actual willingness to pay a premium for certified chocolate. The results will be evaluated and published during 2022.

October 14th, 2021
1st Design Workshop with participants from the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU), the project advisory board members as well as the CoVaCoa project team.

In October 2021, the 1st CoVaCoa design workshop took place in an online format to present preliminary results, provide a space for exchange, bring together perspectives and stimulate practice transfer. In addition to the project members of Osnabrück University, the project advisory board members as well as practice partners participated. After short presentations on the current research status held by the individual working groups, the state of knowledge on individual parts of the value chain was compiled in small groups in the form of a "world café" and later discussed together in the large group. This gave all virtual participants the opportunity to contribute their own perspectives. The expertise and diverse perspectives of the participants led to stimulating discussions. This gave all participants the opportunity to gain new insights. The second design workshop will take place in fall 2022.

September until October 2021
Excursion of the major study project in Ghana

As part of the major study project "From the bean to the bar - the global production network of chocolate" of the Master Economic and Social Geography of Prof. Dr. Martin Franz, he traveled with 18 students for 2.5 weeks to Ghana. They were accompanied by Isaac Ntiamoah (Albrecht & Dill Trading GmbH) and Jana Rülke (IfG, UOS). Together they interviewed 210 cocoa smallholder farmers from three different cooperatives in six different locations: in Bosome Freho, in Potroase near Suhum, in Nkaseim and Dadieso near Goaso, and in Asenkyem, Juansa and Bompata near Konongo. For the quantitative data collection, they were supported partly by Kuapa Kokoo, the world's largest smallholder farmers' cooperative.
On the way from Accra to Kumasi, they visited the Fairafric chocolate factory in Suhum. There, they learned a lot about how cocoa is turned into chocolate and, of course, were allowed to taste it. In Kumasi, they met representatives of our project advisory board member, the cocoa trading company Olam Cocoa. In New Tafo Akyem, they spent half a day at the Cocoa Research Institute Ghana (CRIG), the research department of the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod). During a tour around the CRIG campus, they learned, among other things, about the different fermentation techniques and how they affect the taste of chocolate, how hand-pollination of cocoa trees works, and the various products already made from cocoa in Ghana. Back in Accra, a meeting was held with cocoa researcher Kristy Leissle, who was involved in the founding of the Cocoapreneurship Institute Ghana and the development of the African Cocoa & Chocolate Expo, among other things. In addition to the field trip dates, students had the opportunity to conduct interviews for their own study projects at all locations. The results were presented at a public colloquium on January 26th, 2022.

September until November 2021
Data collection in Ghana

Jana Rülke, a member of the project team, traveled to Ghana for three months to conduct on-site interviews with various actors in the cocoa production network and to present the CoVaCoa project in Ghana's cocoa industry. At the beginning, she was accompanied by Isaac Ntiamoah, who works for the project advisory board member Albrecht & Dill Trading GmbH. In Accra, Tema, Kumasi, Bosome Freho, Goaso and Konongo they conducted discussions, interviews and surveys. In the process, they gained numerous valuable insights into various cultivation methods and were able to follow individual steps of the cocoa process. The focus was on the individual perspectives of the smallholder farmers. At the same time, a preliminary excursion was carried out for the excursion of the major study project of the Master Economic and Social Geography, which will take place in September and October 2021. Due to the ongoing worldwide pandemic and the constantly dynamic developing situations, it was for a long time unclear whether this research trip could take place, which is why the joy was all the greater when it could be realized. From August to September 2022, Jana Rülke will travel to Ghana again for her research work.