Findings of a Dutch university study have pointed to poor business processes coordination as a significant challenge confronting Ghana’s cocoa industry.

Researchers from Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands announced the study titled “Business processes and information systems in the Ghana cocoa supply chain” published in the NJAS – Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences. The researchers stated that they surveyed 56 people representing the Ghana cocoa supply chain.

The findings indicated a lot of handovers and waiting times in the farmers’ business processes. The processes among the farmers are not regulated and properly aligned.

The researchers recognised the key participants, including cocoa farmers, cocoa traders, and the sector regulator, COCOBOD, and the business units in these organisations, such as Purchasing Clerks, District Managers, Port Managers, and Operations Managers within Licensed Buying Companies (cocoa traders).

In the introduction of the study, the research team remarked that despite cocoa holding a leading position in the Ghanaian economy, no explicit effort has been made in modelling and documenting the cocoa supply chain’s business processes.

As the second-largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans in the world, Ghana’s cocoa sector is estimated for 20% of global cocoa production. Now, the cocoa sector accounts for 30% of the West African nation’s total export earnings and provides revenue for not less than six million people, representing 30% of Ghana’s population. This is why the study’s findings may be very concerning for the cocoa supply chain.

According to the study, although some IT systems are used, paper-forms are more accepted, leading to deficiencies and incompetence, poor data management, and unfair distribution of information among the industry.

The Wageningen University and Research study included a comprehensive spectrum of the cocoa supply chain’s current business processes in Ghana and its underlying Information Technology (IT) systems.

The researchers, based on the survey study results, suggested formal business process models for the different levels of the industry, with supporting IT resource linkages. These can help bring smooth translations from the current paper-based towards IT-based management of the Ghana cocoa supply chain’s business processes.

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