Julia Jahansoozi & Eric Koper

Exploring Public Private Relations In Cocoa Research For Development

In Bled 2007 a few presenters (such as Koper, McKie) appealed for making public relations research more relevant and to align it with the bigger social, humanitarian and economic issues of a globalizing world. Rather than continuing with often introverted self assessments the theory and practice needs to value more what it can contribute to and derive knowledge and theory from an applied empirical exposure.

The study we present here explores the Institute of Tropical Agriculture’s (IITA) private public relations using its Research for Development (R4D) model. The rich experience of the Sustainable Tree Crops Program (STCP) with Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) is an excellent case to explore organizational relations. It will also provide STCP with insight to managing relations as the partnership evolves further.

This research project is a work in progress. The initial research relates to, analyses and documents the experiences with the public private partnerships in the cocoa sector as implemented through STCP in Ghana and Nigeria (a comparative focus).

We review the various relationships and dynamics involved within STCP cocoa public-private partnerships so we can model the various relations between the participants. By modelling these relations we can help organizations to forecast key investments and effectively use communication resources needed at different points / stages along the R4D model – from identifying development needs (producer / consumer requirements), formulating specific research problems that can be addressed by advanced research institutes, international research institutes and national partners, dissemination of research outcomes / solutions, up-take of research outcomes by national/regional partners, to finally evaluating the development impact and success levels.

This research will help an organization to decide which relations it needs to invest in, the level of support / leadership required, etc, and when it needs to do this – for example in supporting scientists so they are able to also focus on the practical research outputs and initial outcomes as well as their primary role of research, or in replicating the knowledge / success of the Farmer Field Schools such as with STCP. It will also help identify where the different relation boundaries lie with each relational partner, which should be helpful for strategic planning and priority-setting activities.

We hope that it serves as a practical example on how public relations and communication research can contribute to improving global issues whilst developing its body of knowledge.

Julia Jahansoozi (UCLAN), Eric Koper (IITA), Chris Okafor (IITA), Isaac Gyamfi (IITA), & Stephan Weise (IITA)

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