A cocoa farmers pension scheme for farmers was yesterday launched here by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
In pursuit of Section 26 of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) Law, 1984 (PNDC L.81), which mandates COCOBOD to establish a contributory insurance for cocoa farmers, the government, in collaboration with COCOBOD and the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA), set up the scheme.
It is open to all cocoa farmers in the country to make contributions toward their retirement while COCOBOD makes a supplementary contribution on their behalf.
To ensure the successful roll-out of the scheme, COCOBOD has begun the collection of data of farmers for the Cocoa Management System, which would hold a database of all cocoa farmers in the country and track their contributions.
According to the President, the scheme was aimed at rejuvenation of diseased and overaged farmers and activities meant for productivity enhancement, including pruning, hand pollination and irrigation of cocoa farms.
He recalled making a solemn pledge to cocoa farmers in 2016 that if he won that election, he would establish the scheme.
According to the President, successive governments, for various reasons, were unable to fulfil the establishment of the scheme much to the chagrin of cocoa farmers.
“But”, he said, “what we are seeing today is just not fulfilment of the law but also [an act] in line with government’s plan to improve the living standards of cocoa farmers.”
“Talking about four more for Nana, the scheme is such an example,” he said to deafening cheers from the crowd.
The scheme, he said, would guarantee a decent retirement income for cocoa farmers for life to enable them to have a decent life during retirement, and entreated all farmers to register to be part of it.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NPRA, Hayford Attah Krufi, assured all cocoa farmers and other contributors to pensions in the country that “your funds are secured and safe”.
Encouraging all cocoa farmers in the country to partake in the scheme, he said “it will help you retire in dignity and comfort when you cannot work on the farms again.”
Nana (Prof.) Mensah Bonsu, Asekyere Chief, who represented the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, praised the government for establishing the scheme, which, he said, would serve as an attraction for the youth to take to cocoa farming.
He said the motivation for the youth to go into cocoa farming had been low and expressed optimism that the scheme would change the situation for the better, while urging all cocoa farmers to get hooked to it.
Other speakers at the event included the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afryie Akoto, Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Joseph
Boahen Aidoo, COCOBOD Board Chairman, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, and Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah.
FROM KINGSLEY E.HOPE, KUMASI
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