The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has begun the implementation of the Cocoa Management System (CMS) aimed at capturing the biometric information of cocoa farmers in the Ashanti Region.
The CMS will also capture land tenure systems, size of the farms and its location including the conditions of the farms. COCOBOD aims to capitalize on the digitization agenda to create a database for the cocoa sector of the country. The system will assist in the effective management, planning and implementation of policies and programmes for the cocoa sector.
According to Dr Emmanuel Opoku (Deputy CEO), the CMS will afford COCOBOD to implement the Cocoa Farmers’ Pension Scheme. The scheme will enable cocoa farmers to make voluntary contributions towards their retirement to maintain decent livelihoods after retirement.
“The cocoa pension scheme will only be feasible when accurate data are captured about the farmers through the CMS. The CMS will hold the database of all cocoa farmers in the country and track their contributions to facilitate prompt payments of claims to beneficiary farmers.”
He said after the exercise, every captured farmer will receive a biometric card to enable him or her to sell cocoa and buy farm inputs. The card will also eliminate direct payments of cash to farmers, thereby preventing the tendencies of armed robberies, he added.
He therefore urged cocoa farmers to cooperate with COCOBOD enumerators to ensure smooth and effective exercise.
“The CMS is free of charge and no farmer is allowed to pay any amount of money to the enumerators. Any enumerator found collecting any money will be severely dealt with.”Dr Emmanuel Opoku, Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Ashanti Regional COCOBOD staff urged to support the exercise
Dr Emmanuel Otoo also urged staff of COCOBOD in the Ashanti Region to support the implementation of the CMS. He is the Executive Director of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD.
He indicated that the acquisition of reliable data is critical to the growth of the cocoa sector. Hence, all must embrace and work towards the successful implementation of the system, he added.
The Senior Public Affairs Manager of COCOBOD, Mr Fiifi Boafo advised staff to engage the relevant persons and groups in cocoa communities and sensitize them on the numerous benefits that farmers, in particular, and all stakeholders in general, will derive when the system becomes fully operational.
“There is the need to effectively engage with all stakeholders, clear every misconception about the CMS…”Mr Fiifi Boafo, COCOBOD’s PRO
Mr Boafo also said his outfit will engage the local media among others to propagate the need for all to register. Sensitization on the system has begun in the region. The mapping of cocoa farms and enumeration in order to give farmers unique identification (ID) cards will then follow.
Mr Boafo said a farmer’s ID card will hold information about the farmer and his/her farm. It will facilitate the sale of cocoa beans, access to farm inputs, subsidies and other support services from COCOBOD. The cocoa management system will also help with the traceability of cocoa which has become a major international issue.