Cocoa is the chief agricultural export of Ghana and Ghana’s main cash crop. Behind Ivory Coast, Ghana is the second largest cocoa exporter in the world. Cocoa cultivation is not native to the country; Ghana’s cocoa cultivation, however, is noted within the developing world to be one of the most modeled commodities and valuables.
Cocoa production occurs in the country’s forested areas: Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Central Region, Eastern Region, Western Region, and Volta, where rainfall is 1,000-1,500 millimeters per year. The crop year begins in October, when purchases of the main crop begin, with a smaller mid-crop cycle beginning in July.
All cocoa, except that which is smuggled out of the country, is sold at fixed prices to the Cocoa Marketing Board. Although most cocoa production is carried out by peasant farmers on plots of less than three hectares, a small number of farmers appear to dominate the trade. Some studies show that about one-fourth of all cocoa farmers receive just over half of total cocoa income.
With some two million children involved in the farming of cocoa in West Africa, primarily Ghana and Ivory Coast, child slavery and trafficking were major concerns in 2018. However, international attempts to improve conditions for children were failing because of persistent poverty, absence of schools, increasing world cocoa demand, more intensive farming of cocoa, and continued exploitation of child labor.