The focus of cooperative research has taken a new dimension. The focus now is on how cooperatives contribute to the other dimensions of sustainability (environmental and social). The overall goal is to analyze how cooperatives contribute to sustainable development goals and policy issues such as sustainable environmental practices, women empowerment, adoption of diversification strategies, and technical efficiency of smallholder farmers in rural areas in developing and emerging economies.
Our Ph.D. and master students Ebenezer and Emmanuel went to the Southern part of Ghana for data collection from March to May 2021. The main aim of the data collection was to assess the impact of cooperatives on the adoption of sustainable cocoa practices, adoption of additional livelihood strategies, and technical efficiency of smallholder cocoa farmers. The students focused on cooperatives that train their members on sustainable cocoa practices, additional livelihood strategies apart from cocoa production, and other good agricultural practices to help farmers achieve technical efficiency. The target groups for the study are cooperative members (Specifically Fairtrade certified cooperatives and Rainforest Alliance certified cooperatives) and nonmembers (farmers who do not belong to any cooperative)
Different methods of data collection were employed to achieve reliable and quality data. Focused group discussions with the cooperative farmers and key informant interviews with key players such as the cocoa purchasing officers and the leaders of the cooperatives were adopted. Additional interviews were done to know the kind of training that the cooperatives offer to their members as well as the efforts cooperatives make to ensure that farmers adopt such training. In addition to the focus group discussion and key informant interviews, data was collected from 300 respondents.