President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme which aims to guarantee a decent pension for cocoa farmers in Ghana, so they can maintain a good standard of living after retirement.
The scheme is in fulfilment of a 36-year-old provision in 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 launch took place at a durbar at the Jubilee Park, Kumasi in the Ashanti Region on Tuesday, 1st December.
In his keynote address, President Akufo-Addo said the establishment of the pension scheme was not just in fulfilment of the legal mandate but in line with the plans to improve the living standards of cocoa farmers in Ghana.
COCOBOD, he said, has maintained a farmer-focused approach to managing Ghana’s cocoa sector, leading to the introduction of Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs), along with other interventions to achieve greater efficiency, while safeguarding the immediate and future welfare of cocoa farmers.
The programmes, he added, have all helped to place cocoa farmers in a better position to first earn a decent living while actively farming and secondly, to make contributions into the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme for their retirement.
The President stated that, the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme is singularly historic in its provision of a safety net for cocoa farmers in Ghana. It enables the farmers to make voluntary contributions towards their retirement while COCOBOD makes a supplementary contribution on behalf of the farmers as well.
“This guarantees a decent retirement income for our gallant cocoa farmers for life and ensures that they can maintain decent standards of living after retirement.”
He entreated all cocoa farmers to sign on to the scheme to enjoy the full set of benefits it offers.
The Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo, on his part also called on cocoa farmers to sign on to the scheme and make the necessary contributions to ensure its success and more importantly, to take full advantage of this opportunity to secure their future.
He also asked the farmers to cooperate with the officers from COCOBOD who have been tasked to collect their data for the Cocoa Management System (CMS), which will hold a robust database of all cocoa farmers in the country and track their contributions. The CMS, he added, will also facilitate the prompt payment of claims to beneficiary farmers.
The assured the farmers of COCOBOD’s sustained commitment to making cocoa farming more financially profitable for farmers and encouraged the youth to also take up the cocoa farming business.