Ethical issues in Cocoa purchasing and transportation. Perspective of Social consumerism with Christian blending from Proverbs 11:1

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Solomon Arhin Frederick Joe Santuoh

Abstract

Pragmatically, there has been hot debate on the way Cocoa industry is managed in Ghana. These problems, mostly ethical in nature relate to Cocoa Purchasing and Transportation.  Social Consumers have argued these out from Christian and Biblical perspectives such as proverbs 11:1.  Christian critics in the industry argue that their career in the industry raises a lot of ethical and moral questions .These include not only the integrity and objectivity of the measuring instrument used in measuring the commodity from the producers  level, but also the monopolization of cocoa exports and lack of new value creation activities in the industry as well as streamlining the activities of  handling losses through the transportation of the raw materials to their points of conveyance. One will however, envisage that Christian organizations have not wholly been involved in the establishment of firms in Cocoa industry as commonly observed in financial and educational sectors in Ghana where, many of such firms belong to several religious organizations. The carefulness and integrity of these honorable Christian men and women in tempering with the controversial measurement scale as per the policies of the License Buying Companies (LBCs) have been questioned because the fragility of the industry makes people so susceptible to dishonesty and corruption which create a lot of ethical issues. According to a UK Department for Environmental, Rural and Food Affairs (DEFRA), more than half of consumers in the country said they will not try to buy products whose ethics they disagree with.


The objective of this study is to assess the ethical issues and current innovations on cocoa purchases in relation to the controversial scale and to understand the reasons for lack of value added creation activities. The methodology involved data collection (a survey) and use of the theoretical framework .Secondary data on cocoa purchases for the ten years period between 2001-2010 were used for the analysis. In addition responses from eighty-seven marketing clerks representing two major License Buying Companies (LBCS) were collected as a basis for generalization and thirdly, experts’ opinion from two members of COCOBOD were gathered to provide descriptive analysis on the current condition in the COCOBOD.


The results indicate that adjustment of scales by marketing clerks still remains the big and unresolved unethical practices in the minds of the farmers therefore scale adjustment is seen to be unfair and unethical from farmers’ perspective and according to proverbs 11:1.  Many of the respondents advocate for involvement of Christian organizations in the industry to help resolve unethical practices. The opinion from the experts clearly shows that COCOBOD has no tracking mechanism of cocoa purchases. However, manufacturing of raw beans are seen to be on the increase compared to the previous four years.

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