A Case for Cashews: A Case Study Analysis of Intervention Strategies in the Ghanaian Cashew Value Chain

Vibeke Kaae Frøik

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis has investigated the value chain of the cashew industry in Ghana, focusing on the institutional environment surrounding the industry. The study places an emphasis on how the government, donors, and industry associations intervene in the Ghanaian cashew value chain to enable sustainable inclusion in the global value chain. Sustainable inclusion suggests that Ghana not only supplies raw cashew nuts, but also engages in value adding activities that occur during processing. The domestic Ghanaian cashew industry struggles to be competitive on the global scene, and in particular, the processing sector is lagging behind.
First, the study outlines theoretical intervention strategies recommended for donors, governments, and industry associations. The study finds that donors not only directly intervene in the value chain, but also in the industry’s supportive institutions, namely the government and the industry association. This work is summarized in a theoretical framework and tested against an empirical case study of the Ghanaian cashew value chain.
Theoretical tools from Gereffi’s traditional global value chain framework are used to investigate the empirical case study of the Ghanaian cashew value chain. Moreover, interventions strategies are examined. The findings conclude that intervention strategies used by the value chain influencers correspond, to a large extent, with the predictions of the theoretical framework. The case study shows intervention is performed in a slightly more dynamic manner, as industry association and private sector intervention into the government can be identified.
The Ghanaian cashew industry continues to struggle despite government, donors, and industry associations intervening, as the theoretical framework predicts. The current study thus suggests that there are limitations to the intervention performed. First, the interventions target the wrong section of the value chain. Second, the interventions are not performed efficiently. Finally, there are some exogenous factors that cannot be controlled or influenced by intervention in the domestic value chain.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages138