Government, through Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has rolled out the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme (CFPS) to ensure a decent pension for cocoa farmers, improve their welfare, and also make farming attractive to the youth.
This comes after the Cocoa Management Systems (CMS) recorded some momentous strides after piloting the scheme for three weeks in August 2021 in New Edubiase and some other districts in the Ashanti Region.
Just as government and private sector workers contribute during their working life, it has become necessary for farmers to also contribute in order to enjoy a comfortable retirement.
Addressing the media at an event in Kumasi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of CFPS Daniel Aidoo Mensah revealed that generally, the scheme has been successful at some 15 cocoa districts in the Ashanti and Western South Cocoa Regions. Therefore, plans are underway to push it up a notch higher to cover the remaining 55 cocoa districts in the country.
He noted that about 90 percent of registered cocoa farmers have been rolled on to the scheme after only five days into the exercise, with numbers increasing by each day, which is an indication of the willingness of farmers to enjoy a decent pension.
Mr. Mensah further explained that farmers on the CFPS would have 5 percent of every sale of beans deducted and transferred into the pension accounts, with government also adding 1 percent as its contribution.
He further explained that age does not become a hindrance to any farmer who wants to enrol, but a contributor may decide to retire after 5 years.
The Board Chair observed that it is more advantageous if a younger farmer joins the scheme and maintains a good standing in respect of commitment to his/her contribution to the scheme.
“While on the scheme, a contributor may, after 5 years, decide to retire from it. But a young farmer who signs onto the scheme may opt to retire at age 55 or decide to remain on it and retire at a later date,” he explained.
The scheme would basically operate through the purchasing clerks, but be regulated by the National Pensions Regulatory Authority and governed by a 10-member Board of Trustees, which includes four cocoa farmers.
He, therefore, encouraged other farmers who are yet to visit the enrolment centres to go and enrol to be part of this historic exercise since the benefits are enormous and satisfying.