Consultant, Research – Gender, Land and Transparency in Ghana’s Cocoa Supply Chain


Company Oxfam
Category Supply Chain/...
Location Accra
Job Status Contractor/Co...
Salary GH¢ 
Education -:-
Experience N/A
Job Expires Oct 05, 2018
Contact ...

Company Profile

Oxfam is a global movement of people committed to developing lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice. Through policy engagement and advocacy, we aim to tackle the root causes of hunger and poverty, and to empower people to claim their rights. Oxfam in Ghana aims to reduce poverty and inequality by supporting influencing and advocacy around three interconnected pillars: agriculture, essential services, and extractive industry governance. Oxfam in Ghana’s current work focuses on supporting civil society advocacy and research for better accountability and fair distribution of resources in the agriculture, essential services including health and education, extractive sector.

Job Description

The purpose of this assignment is to identify barriers to transparency and sustainability risks in Ghana’s cocoa supply chain with a focus on gender and land issues.
This research is part of Oxfam’s Behind the Brands initiative. In February 2013, Oxfam launched the Behind the Brands1 campaign to challenge the ‘Big 10’ food and beverage companies on their social and environmental policies and practices, and to amplify the voices of key stakeholders such as farmers, communities, consumers and investors, calling on them to take action. By the end of the three-year campaign, the companies had made significant new commitments to improve social and environmental standards in their vast supply chains.
Oxfam is now focused on implementation of those company commitments: getting companies to ensure that their suppliers actually change their practices in line with the commitments made, and accelerating the transformation towards a more sustainable food system by adopting new business models in their supply chains. Implementation of these commitments will ensure that more of the power and value reaches the farmers and workers who produce the ingredients for the food we eat.
The Behind the Brands program (known as BtB 1.1) leverages Oxfam’s existing relationships with the Big 10 companies for the Oxfam confederation as a whole, and also targets a handful of countries (including Ghana) where we invest in in-country private sector engagement. In essence, Oxfam is approaching supply chain sustainability from both ends of the supply chain: from the Big 10 companies, given the commitments made and relationships developed during the campaign; and from the ground in-country, given the existing work of Oxfam country offices with smallholder farmers and workers.
As Ghana is the world’s second largest exporter of cocoa, Oxfam in Ghana is focusing Behind the Brands implementation efforts on sustainability in the country’s cocoa supply chain. However, in the first 18 months of implementation, we’ve faced a challenge at country level: there is almost always a “black box” in supply chain transparency, which makes demonstrating the link between companies and the communities they source from exceedingly difficult. Only a very small portion of cocoa sourced from Ghana is currently traceable to the farm level, and therefore more research is needed to fully understand how cocoa moves from community to consumer.
While supply chain transparency and traceability is important in its own right, without good data linking communities, cocoa, and final products, it is difficult to effectively advocate for the needs of cocoa-growing communities and address gender inequality in the value chain. Although women constitute about 40% of the workforce in the Cocoa value chain, they are confronted with several challenges.
Some of these are, women’s work not considered, women unpaid care work, lack and control over access to land, inadequate extension support and others. All these challenges and more limits women access to resources and impact negatively on the economic empowerment. Oxfam is however narrowing its work to address women empowerment and women’s land rights.
The main objective of the assignment is to explore what private sector actors are currently doing to address gender inequality and land issues in the Ghanaian cocoa supply chain, understand the implications of those efforts, and develop recommendations for improving outcomes for women cocoa farmers.
Key questions for this research include:
  1. Given the gender and cocoa commitments made by industry actors following the Behind the Brands campaign, what evidence of implementation exists in Ghana? A roadmap of progress is available here: Full corporate commitments will be shared by Oxfam staff.
  2. Map the presence of major agrifood companies, traders and cocoa processers in Ghana. In what ways do these entities engage in the Ghanaian cocoa value chain? The world’s major agrifood companies source much of their cocoa from Ghana, and yet their engagement in the value chain is opaque. Drawing on lessons learned from engaging with these industry actors on their commitments to gender and land, we seek to map the value chain and address the role of companies, traders and cocoa processors:
    • At the community level: Many agrifood companies and their traders engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs in cocoa-producing communities. However, it is not clear that companies are able to trace the communities where their cocoa is actually produced. How are these producer communities selected for CSR programming, and in what ways do they benefit from the services and interventions they receive? To what extent do these CSR programs address women’s economic empowerment?
    • At the purchasing level: In recent years, several traders and processors have established licensed buying companies (LBCs). Ownership of LBCs is likely to provide traders with more control over their supply chain (e.g. collecting the cocoa from the farmers, taking it to COCOBOD and then recovering it again to export it out of Ghana, allowing, in their words, for “sustainable and traceable cocoa from Ghana,”2 and “directly source cocoa from certified farmers in Ghana for the first time – putting the farmer at the heart of our business.”3. But does LBC ownership actually allow for traceability, and what are the implications for cocoa producing communities?
  3. How can the cocoa industry better value women cocoa farmers’ contributions, including through formal payments? How can companies support training, access to finance, and other pathways to women’s economic empowerment? What opportunities exist for women’s voices to be heard throughout the cocoa value chain (e.g. through cocoa cooperatives, through direct engagement with CSR programs), and how effective are these entry points in addressing gender 
  4. What does a sustainable cocoa future in Ghana look like? Given the difficulties associated with traceability, and the potentially limited power of major agrifood companies to effect on-the-ground change in Ghanaian cocoa-producing communities, where are the entry points improving gender and land outcomes in the sector?
  • Carry out a desk review of existing literature and documentation on cocoa supply chain sustainability, including existing research and evaluations carried out by Oxfam.
  • Prepare an inception report; discuss initial findings from literature review with Oxfam counterparts.
  • Design and formulate the research methodology, including interview protocols for private sector actors and CSOs, and focus group protocols for farmers and workers.
  • Conduct a pilot on the designed questionnaires before implementation of the final plan. Plan and carry out fieldwork, in consultation with Oxfam counterparts.
  • Prepare a draft report of findings; carry out a validation workshop with Oxfam staff and relevant external stakeholders.
  • Revise and prepare final report of findings, in accordance with required template.
  • Weekly reporting on the progress of the work through regular meetings or calls.
  • To abide by Oxfam policies for research, engaging with communities, and protecting data.

Required Skills or Experience


  • Applicants should have demonstrated expertise in supply chain sustainability and agricultural commodities, specifically in the cocoa value chain; varied experience in relevant methodologies; and a history of undertaking similar research consultancies.
  • Applicants with experience and keen interest in the private sector engagement and sustainability and multi-stakeholders dialogue will be an added value. Applicants should be based in Ghana.

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