New project: Strengthening the cocoa and horticulture value chain in Ghana


Maastricht School of Management (MSM) together with the Ghana Netherlands Business and Cultural Council (GNBCC) and consortium partners The Cocoa Value Addition Artisans Association of Ghana (COVAAAGH) and the Africa Trade Academy (ATA) will collaborate in a newly granted Nuffic Tailor-Made-Training (TMT). The project will focus on upgrading the business competences of SME’s in Ghana’s horticultural and cocoa value chains.

Agriculture is Ghana's most important economic sector, employing a considerable proportion of the population on a formal and informal basis and accounting for almost half of GDP and export earnings. The prospects for Ghanaian food products are favourable. The demand for fresh and processed food in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa is increasing due to population growth, a growing middle class, and a growing urban population. These demographic and economic developments transform dietary preferences and expand domestic demand for diverse, nutritious, and safe food. Moreover, European demand for high quality fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, and for specialty chocolate continues to be very high. Yet, Ghana’s food processing sector is underdeveloped. One of the bottlenecks for all SMEs is to upgrade their business towards international or European standards, which is conditional to serve the domestic market (middle class consumers, hotels, restaurants and bigger supermarkets), serve similar markets in West Africa and beyond, and be potentially attractive partners to European companies.

This TMT project will address these challenges by supporting the development of demand-driven value chains, where agri-food processors and manufacturers know and set the supply standards, guide farmers in their production focus and techniques. The training sessions are focused on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the horticultural and cocoa products sectors, because they share many challenges in their operations: they are SMEs in Ghana; they domestically add value in their respective chains; they serve the domestic market as well as other African and European markets; they need to comply with (foreign) food standards; they often need cold chains.

MSM together with ATA will support the development of demand-driven value chains by training horticultural and cocoa entrepreneurs through a course that focuses on:

  • Value chain analysis: leading the value chain, managing vertical and horizontal collaborations, and with the explicit objective of local value addition.
  • Agribusiness development: key business capabilities such as sound financial management, bankable business proposal development, marketing, and meeting modern quality standards.
  • Export: Exporting in respect of Africa itself and of Europe. The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) offers new importing and marketing opportunities for Ghana’s horticultural and cocoa products.  

It is envisaged that by the end of the project, a group of entrepreneurs in the horticultural and cocoa value-addition sectors will have improved their entrepreneurial capabilities. The overall goal of the project is to contribute to enhanced food & nutrition security, by supporting small and medium-sized agri-business owners to raise the efficiency and quality level of their respective value chains.

This project will be managed by Veerle Barten, Project Consultant at MSM’s Expert Centre on Emerging Economies. The project will run from September 2023 until August 2024.

Orange Knowledge Programme
This project is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic. For more information click here.

MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies

This institutional collaboration project is part of MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies. The department is an expert centre on local economic development in emerging and developing markets.‚Äč We capacitate managers and professionals from government, private sector, NGOs, and post-secondary education in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America. We offer consultancy and customized training programs, and we manage complex projects in key sectors, e.g. water, agriculture and health. For more information click here.

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