Nyonkopa Cocoa Buying Limited continues to make giant strides in Ghana’s cocoa industry. The latest of its many innovative interventions is the launch of Nyonkodo Farmer Life Plan, a bundled insurance, pension and scholarship plan for its farmers at Sefwi Wiawso in the Western Region of Ghana.
Speaking at the launch Mr. Emmanuel Kobby Yawson, Sustainability Analyst of Nyonkopa, indicated that the Farmer Life Plan is the brainchild of Managing Director Mr. Joshy Varkey and was designed by the Nyonkopa Team with support from its partners – Takaful Ghana and Vanguard Life. He explained that Nyonkodo Farmer Life Plan is the first of its kind in yhe Cocoa, Insurance and Pension industries.
The plan is designed to provide life insurance cover for farmers and spouses, scholarships for the farmers’ children, and pension benefits for any farmer who sells their produce to the company consistently for a minimum period of five years and attain the age of 60.
The life insurance cover takes effect immediately the farmer supplies a minimum of 10 bags of 64kg cocoa beans to the company in a year. At the beginning of each school-year, the company will make cash donations for deserving farmers to cater for their children’s back-to-school expenses.
The plan’s cost is borne by the company and farmers are not expected to pay any premium as normal insurance would require; it is 100% free for the farmer. Additionally, the farmer does not need to travel to any insurance office to access the product, all the cost and accessibility burdens are borne by Nyonkopa. He said: “Nyonkodo Life Insurance Plan has come at the right time as the solution to the age-old problems of insurance and pension which have eluded cocoa farmers since the beginning of cocoa-buying business in Ghana”.
At the launch, Managing Director of Nyonkopa Cocoa Buying Limited, Mr. Joshy Varkey said: “The Nyonkodo Farmer Life Plan marks another evident value of the company’s hand of true friendship extended to its cocoa farmers in Ghana”. He explained that the programme is part of Nyonkopa’s mission to support farmers sustain cocoa production and build resilient social capital for them. “This gesture of Nyonkopa is a seed of lasting gratitude expressed to its farmers for their contributions, commitment and loyalty.”
Speaking at the launch, a representative of Cocobod – Chief Executive Mr. Samuel Amponsah, Regional Manager of CHED – commended the initiative taken by Nyonkopa to assist farmers not only in their old age but also while they continue to farm. He said the liberalisation of cocoa-buying business has brought competition and afforded farmers a better option to choose from among the lot the best company to trade with, and also advised LBCs to emulate best practices in the industry like Nyonkopa is doing.
The Sustainability Manager of Nyonkopa, Mr. Robert Asugre, said the company adopts a ‘bottom-up approach’ in dealing with farmers given the crucial role they play in their operations. He noted that since the entry of Barry Callebaut through Nyonkopa into the cocoa supply chain in 2015, they have delivered cutting-edge innovative approaches to promote the wellbeing of farmers. “We registered, trained and certified farmers in record time, resulting in payment of premium after just under eight months of operations. Since then, we have continued to be the only LBC to pay premium twice in a year,” he added.
Mr. Osei Akoto, Director of Crop Services who represented the Minister for Food and Agriculture, stated that government alone cannot transform the cocoa industry, and therefore appealed to the private sector for support in this regard. He reckoned that farmers are challenged in many ways, particularly when it comes to money – a development that he said has been a key concern for government. He therefore lauded the initiative taken by Nyonkopa, and said it will go a long way to assist government realise its objectives for the cocoa industry.
The Managing Director of Vanguard Life, Mr. Isaac Damptey, said the company is happy to be associated with this programme and will ensure that all claims are paid promptly to farmers as and when required.
The Chairman of Vanguard Group, Mr. Daniel Awauh-Darko – together with Mr. Joshy Varkey, presented the first policy certificate to the Western North Regional Chief Cocoa Farmer Nana Nicholas Cobbina. Nana Augustine Kwarteng, Sefwi Wiawso Municipal Chief Cocoa Farmer who received the certificate on behalf of the Regional Chief Cocoa Farmer, was full of gratitude to Nyonkopa. He indicated that the cocoa farmer has long yearned for pension benefits, but Nyonkopa has gone ahead to provide insurance and scholarships – which has come to the surprise of all. He thanked the MD and staff of Nyonkopa, and entreated all cocoa farmers to sell their produce to the company.