President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Tuesday, 1st December 2020, launched a pension scheme for the country’s 1.5 million cocoa farmers.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “the Pension Scheme will enable cocoa farmers to make voluntary contributions towards their retirement, whilst COCOBOD makes a supplementary contribution on behalf of the farmers as well.” He explained that this “guarantees a decent retirement income for cocoa farmers for life, and ensures that they can maintain decent livelihoods after retirement.”
The Scheme, which is to be managed by the National Pension Regulatory Authority, is open to all Ghanaian cocoa farmers to enable them to contribute towards their retirement to enjoy a decent pension.
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) was mandated, under Section twenty-six (26) of the COCOBOD Law, 1984 (PNDC L.81), to establish a Contributory Insurance Scheme for Cocoa Farmers within the framework of the Social Security Scheme, so that they could also enjoy a well-deserved pension, upon retirement.
Launching the pension scheme at the Jubilee Park in Kumasi, as part of his 3-day tour of the Ashanti Region, President Akufo-Addo said millions of cocoa farmers across the country are responsible for the production of a crop, that has, for over a century, been the mainstay of the economy of the country. The theme for the programme was “Securing the Future of Cocoa Farmers for Sustainable Cocoa Economy”.
“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 fulfilment of the legal requirement, but also in line with Government’s plans to improve the living standards of cocoa farmers in Ghana,” he said.
Upon his assumption of office, the President tasked the CEO of COCOBOD, Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, to begin to work earnestly with the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) and other stakeholders to set up a Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme to support cocoa farmers enjoy a decent pension.
“Through the shared determination and expertise of those I put in charge to ensure the establishment of the scheme, both the legal framework and the technical structures have been put in place for the smooth take-off of this all-important scheme,” he said.
To ensure the successful rollout of the scheme, COCOBOD is embarking on a census to collect data on farmers for the Cocoa Management System (CMS), adding that “the CMS will hold a robust database of all cocoa farmers in the country, and track their contributions. It will also facilitate the prompt payment of claims to beneficiary farmers.”
President Akufo-Addo entreated all cocoa farmers to sign on to the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme, in order to enjoy the full benefits of the Scheme.
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.