Ghana Launches Pension Scheme For Cocoa Farmers
Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer, has launched a pension scheme for cocoa farmers thirty-six years after the promulgation of a law to that effect.
An estimated 1.5 million cocoa farmers are expected to enrol on the scheme for financial support during retirement.
Ghana has a majority of its cocoa farmers being above 50 years, as the occupation is highly unattractive to the youth due to low incomes and lack of social protection schemes like pension benefits.
The ceremony for the take-off of the all-important scheme took place in Ghana’s second city of Kumasi, the hub of the country’s cocoa economy.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is contesting for re-election, said the operationalisation of the launch of the cocoa farmers pension scheme fulfils a 2016 campaign promise.
“As candidate Akufo-Addo, in the run-up to the December 2016 elections, I made a solemn pledge to cocoa farmers that, if the Ghanaian people reposed their confidence in me, and I won the election of 2016, my government would establish the pension scheme for them not just in fulfillment of the legal requirement, but also in line with Government’s plans to improve the living standards of cocoa farmers in Ghana,” he recalled.
After receiving the people’s mandate, he charged the cocoa regulator, Ghana Cocoa Board, and the nation’s pensions regulator, NPRA, to establish the scheme in fulfilment of Section 26 of the Ghana Cocoa Board Law, 1984 (PNDCL 81).
The cocoa farmers pension scheme “guarantees a decent retirement income for cocoa farmers for life, and ensures that they can maintain decent livelihoods after retirement,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He passionately appealed to all cocoa farmers to sign up to the ongoing nationwide census and data collection exercise for COCOBOD’s novel Cocoa Management System (CMS), a precondition for enrolling on the pension scheme.
President Akufo-Addo pledged to do more to make cocoa farming even more rewarding and attractive if retained in the West African nation’s forthcoming general elections slated for December 7.
COCOBOD Chief Executive, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, catalogued other achievements of the government to include Cocoa Rehabilitation and the Productivity Enhancement Programme, under which are the hand pollination, mass pruning, cocoa farm mechanisation, irrigation and subsidised fertilizers projects.
Background to the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme
The cocoa farmers pension scheme is open to all cocoa farmers in Ghana. The scheme is to enable contributors or members make voluntary contributions towards their retirement while COCOBOD makes a supplementary contribution for the farmers.
COCOBOD’s newly introduced CMS, being used to collect data on all cocoa farmers and farms, will track their contributions and also hoped to facilitate the prompt payment of claims to beneficiary farmers.
According to COCOBOD, registering under the Cocoa Management System is crucial to being part of the scheme and benefits, thereof.
Officials say member cocoa farmers will be guaranteed a decent retirement income for life as well as a lump sum payment to members upon attainment of the retirement age.
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