COCOBOD eyes 800,000 cocoa farmers under the pension scheme


Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is expected to capture about 800,000 cocoa farmers in the country under the Cocoa Farmer Pension Scheme.

Registering and collection of data is still on-going across all cocoa growing areas to serve as a data base for the Cocoa Management System (CMS), which will track the contribution of the farmers and prompt payment of claims to beneficiaries.

The Cocoa Farmer Pension Scheme is in fulfilment of a 36-year-old provision in Section 26 of the Ghana Cocoa Board Law 1984 (PNDC Law 81), which mandates COCOBOD to establish a contributory insurance for cocoa farmers.

Also, the scheme aims to guarantee a decent pension for cocoa farmers to maintain a good standard of living after retirement.

Fiifi Boafo, Director of Communications at COCOBOD, explained that the Cocoa Farmer Pension Scheme was designed to ensure that farmers benefit from their contribution to the economy.

He mentioned that the scheme is under the National Pension Regulatory Authority (NPRA) and farmers are supposed to contribute 5 percent of their produce every time they go to the cocoa shed.

In addition to this contribution, he said COCOBOD also contributes 1 percent, and the trustees will manage the funds on behalf of the cocoa farmers.

Mr. Boafo was speaking to the media at a sensitisation programme on the Cocoa Farmer Pension Scheme at Wassa Manso, Anomawobidi and Tarkwa, all in the Western Region.

“Farmers are supposed to contribute to age 55. But already, there are farmers who are beyond age 55; so the arrangement is such that those who are beyond 50 are supposed to contribute a minimum of five years and they can benefit from the scheme.”

Again, he said under the farmer pension scheme, two account has been created. “One account is supposed to work throughout the period; and the other account, which is 25 percent. With the 25 percent, the farmers have the opportunity draw from it in a critical situation. For example, financing their children’s education, they can fall on that even before the retiring age.”

He further explained that “when the farmers retire, they are supposed to receive a lump sum. And then, they have a minimum of 15 years to benefit in terms of their monthly pension benefits”.

According to Mr. Boafo, if the farmer is still alive, the farmer will continue to enjoy the monthly benefits, but in a situation whereby the farmer passes on after the 15 years, then that is the end of it.

“But even before the 15 years, if the farmer should pass on, then the beneficiaries of the farmer will also benefit from the contribution the farmer has made,” he added.

When asked what the response has been so far from the farmers, he said: “It’s been impressive and encouraging. If you look at all the places we’ve been so far, apart from the farmers asking the questions about the sustainability of the scheme, they do not have any doubt whatsoever as to they contributing to the scheme. The farmers are very willing, and the only complaint is that this should have happened way earlier”.

He concluded that: “The farmer pension scheme has come to stay and the farmer pension scheme will continue to serve farmers from now till when there’s no need for pension”.

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