SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

van Huellen, Sophie and Abubakar, Fuad Mohammed (2021) 'Potential for Upgrading in Financialised Agri-Food Chains: The Case of Ghanaian Cocoa.' European Journal of Development Research, 33 (2). pp. 227-252.

Text - Accepted Version
Download (499kB) | Preview


We revisit functional upgrading opportunities for developing and emerging market companies in the context of highly financialised food systems. We argue that the assessment of upgrading potential within the global value chain literature lacks consideration of constraints posed by financialisation, not only of the sector within which upgrading takes place but also by the global financial architecture more broadly. For the Ghanaian cocoa–chocolate sector, we show that financialisation acts as limiting factor to upgrading, with contradicting tendencies. First, financialisation of lead firms, eager to outsource non-core activities, has promoted cocoa processing in Ghana, but the resulting consolidation of power hinders further functional upgrading. Second, Ghana’s dependency on cocoa for foreign exchange earnings necessitates upgrading into higher value-added segments, while also undermining feasible upgrading strategies that build on domestic or regional markets first. These contradicting tendencies constitute a middle value-added trap, which is difficult but not impossible to overcome.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Economics
ISSN: 09578811
Copyright Statement: © European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) 2021
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2020 09:01

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item