Published November 27, 2023 | Version v1
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Transport inefficiencies in the cocoa value chainin Côte d'Ivoire: Is sustainability possible?

  • 1. Master's Graduate of the HAFL and PhD candidate at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, United Kingdom,
  • 2. Bern University of Applied Sciences, School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL), Zollikofen, Switzerland,


We examine transport inefficiencies and the sustainability of the cocoa value chain (CVC) in Côte d'Ivoire. Based on the findings, actionable recommendations are made to improve the sustainability of cocoa transport from farm gate to export harbour. In terms of method, we begin with a literature review of transport inefficiencies in the Ivorian CVC from farm gate to export harbour. This is followed by primary research conducted on-site in Côte d'Ivoire. Qualitative and quantitative data were gathered, based on a 57-question questionnaire, and in-depth interviews with key stakeholders. Respondents include two main cooperatives - Société Coopérative des Planteurs d'Iratéké (SOCOOPI) and Société Coopérative Agricole Badéya Soubré (SOCOOABAS) – and three different villages - Djihimbo, Iratéké and Konédougou. Special function actors from the Soubré, San-Pédro and Grand-Béréby corridors also participated. The CVC functions within a combined micro, meso and macro business enabling environment. The micro environment holds the CVC that is the focus of this study. The steps of the CVC flow horizontally and sequentially. Farmers, cooperative management, exporters, ports, chocolatiers, and supermarkets are the major actors in the different steps of the CVC with each actor also having its own value chain. The lines that these actors engage in, flow vertically and are called primary and support activities. These lines serve the purpose of achieving competitive advantage. The micro environment is surrounded by the meso environment including medium-sized actors and the macro environment, in turn, surrounds the meso environment including larger entities. Trucks and motorcycles are the dominant forms of transport from farm gate to export harbour. Significantly, there is no railway system that could efficiently be used in the CVC. Transport inefficiencies include insufficient village collection points, blocked roads during rain due to lack of profiling and tar, excessive reparations costs due to potholes and low-quality roads, excessive pollution caused by trucks, "pisteurs" lowering the value chains' credibility, and a lack of bank branches at junctions where trading takes place. Sustainable transport is measured using the United Nation's criteria of which the results show that transport is mostly unsafe, unaffordable, inaccessible, inefficient, not resilient and that the emission of carbon and other gases are not sufficiently minimised. In conclusion, cocoa transport in Côte d'Ivoire is unsustainable in its current form. However, with the correct implementation of policy measures, financing and technological innovation, there is significant potential to improve the status quo.

Keywords: Transport; Sustainability; Cocoa; Value Chain; Côte d'Ivoire.


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