Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Reinemann, Martin W.||Parson, Ruben L.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Earth Science


Cocoa--Ghana; Ghana


Each year Ghana provides the world with the largest part of the cacao crop; production from the West African nation varies from one-third to two-fifths of the entire world output. Cacao is the mainstay of the economy. This fact was recognized by the writer during 1961-63, when as a Peace Corps Volunteer teacher of secondary school geography, he observed cacao production, watched the crop being marketed, and detected some of the social and economic ramifications of the crop‘s cultivation. Many of the problems discussed in this paper and speculation about cacao's importance were inspired by students, many of whom were from cocoa-farmers' families. The pivotal position of Ghana’s cacao was obvious. Yet two fundamental questions about Ghana's cocoa industry were unanswered; they were; how and why had cacao come to dominate the economy? This study attempts to answer those questions by describing the dispersion and expansion of cocoa farming and by showing cacao's preeminent role in the national economy. No single cash crop grown in Ghana has been as important as cacao. The tree crop was introduced into the country in 1879, and by 1905 it surpassed all other agricultural activities. Its cultivation changed the basic type of agriculture in the southern forest zone from shifting subsistence farming to settled cash-cropping. By 1927, the cocoa industry accounted for more than 80 per cent of the value of Gold Coast exports. In the 1950's and I960's, revenues derived from cacao sales played a major role in the nation’s development schemes. Besides providing revenue for the dynamic development of the country*s infrastructure, particularly since 1957, the profits from cacao directly and indirectly affect about 40 per cent of the population# furthermore, cacao culture profoundly altered aspects of traditional society, such as land tenure and the family system. A description of the early history of cacao in Ghana and the expansion of cocoa farming constitute the early sections of the paper. The spread of the crop from eastern to western Ghana and the role of migrating cocoa-farmers in the expansion is explained. The fundamental significance of cacao in Ghana's economy during the twentieth century is discussed in terms of the socio-economic implications of the cocoa industry. The transforming nature of cash-cropping cocoa shows its effects by having made profound changes in agriculture, communications and even in the traditional social structure. An analysis of cacao's role in Ghana’s Seven-Year Development Plan, 1963-70, and prospects for the crop constitute the find part of the paper.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustration and maps.


ix, 113 pages




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