• Announcement
27. September 2022

As part of a university cooperation, the Initiative for Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains (INA) travelled to Ghana with students. Visits to companies, a workshop at the University of Ghana and an exchange with GIZ were on the agenda.

An article by Vera Heyes-Johannsen

The bus rumbles along a road of red earth and comes to a halt in front of a new factory building. Ten students get off and are excited about what awaits them on this day. It is one of eight days they spend with INA in Ghana. Today, a visit to the FairAfric chocolate factory is on the agenda. From the cocoa bean to the packaged bar, the company handles the entire chocolate production in the country of origin and only then delivers to Europe. In this way, jobs and added value remain in the country of origin. A business model that the business administration and logistics students observe with great interest. After information about the company and a tour of the production facilities, they set off in the afternoon to the origin of the cocoa beans: Equipped with rubber boots and rain jackets, a fifteen-minute walk takes them through the tropical forest to a cocoa farm. Here they are all allowed to harvest cocoa pods with machete and knife, open them and place the cocoa beans, covered in light-coloured flesh, on banana leaves - the first step on the way to chocolate. For many of the students, this day is one of the highlights of the trip and at the same time an insight into the hard work that smallholder families do at the beginning of agricultural supply chains.

“We can be told statistics all day in a classroom in Germany, but it will never have the same impact as experiencing it!”

- Excerpt from a student's feedback sheet


The other visits to companies also leave formative impressions: With HPW Fresh & Dry Ltd., the group gets to know the largest producer of naturally dried mango, pineapple and coconut in Africa. The company processes over 20,000 tonnes of fresh fruit, exports 2,000 tonnes of dried fruit and employs 1,000 people. The contrast programme follows at Yvaya Farm: the start-up produces dried fruit, in a small house and with big ambitions for Ghana's future. It sees itself as a dynamic, youth- and women-led enterprise and stands for climate-friendly agro-processing that creates sustainable jobs, increases income and protects the environment. Its founder Yvette Tetteh is one of the 'Lionesses of Africa' and a finalist in the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition. Another founder impressed the students: Catherine Krobo Edusei founded Eden Tree a good 15 years ago. The company sells fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs in Ghana and sees it as its task to promote healthy eating habits in the country.


The group visits the sprawling green campus of the University of Ghana. Led by Dr Collins Asante-Addo, Ghanaian agriculture students and the INA group discuss. The presentations get to the heart of the opportunities and challenges of rural development and global agricultural supply chains. Especially the question of a mental journey into the past and future is intensively discussed: What influence did industrialisation have? What opportunities do innovations and renewable energies offer? How can free trade work in a global community? are some of the topics of discussion. A joint dinner concludes the day. A student writes later:

"Finally I can conclude by saying that the future of a country always stands on the shoulder of its future generations, and if sharing different ideas with the Ghanain people regarding Agricultural Supply Chains is a start, then I would say Ghana and Africa will see me again.”


Instead of being lectured about the country with rigid facts and figures, the students visited Ghanaian families. Together, they prepared the typical dishes of the country, fufu and jollof rice, and talked about politics, religion, school education, family life and everyday habits of their respective home countries while eating. A city tour through Accra with stops on colonialism and independence as well as an informative walk through the Old Jamestown district rounded off the programme. Last but not least, a visit to the country office of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH provided good insights into the tasks and challenges of German development cooperation. Component Manager Stefan Pletziger gave a relaxed presentation on how sustainable employment opportunities can be created through agriculture.

"The week has really encouraged me to pursue the topic of sustainability in agricultural supply chains in my master's thesis as well as in my career."


Through such and similar feedback, INA sees the goal of the cooperation achieved: the international group of students from Cologne Business School, Berlin University of Applied Sciences and Kühne Logistics University are tomorrow's decision-makers. Raising their awareness of sustainability in global supply chains and providing them with approaches for implementation in their future professional lives was achieved through the inspiring trip.

©GIZ/Heyes-Johannsen I Group photo in front of the GIZ country office
©GIZ/Heyes-Johannsen I Group photo in Black Star Square
©GIZ/Heyes-Johannsen I On the cocoa farm at FairAfric
©GIZ/Heyes-Johannsen I Group photo with Yvaya Farm employeess
©GIZ/Heyes-Johannsen I Group work at the University of Ghana
©GIZ/Heyes-Johannsen I Group picture with students from the University of Ghana