COCOBOD begins registration of farmers under Cocoa Pension Scheme
Some cocoa farmers going through the registration exercise

COCOBOD begins registration of farmers under Cocoa Pension Scheme

The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has begun the registration of more than 300,000 cocoa farmers in the Western Region under the Cocoa Farmer Pension Scheme.

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Farmers to be registered in the region formed part of the population of more than 800,000 cocoa farmers in all the cocoa regions across the country.

It was launched at New Edubiase  in the Ashanti Region in August 2021 where farmers there had already been registered for the scheme.  

Assured retirement

Speaking to farmers during the tour of the various parts of the Western Region, the Director of Communications, COCOBOD, Fiifi Boafo, said the prevailing situation was such that there were no structured schemes for farmers after many years of hard work.

The farmers, he said, retired with no income, which was not a good story to be told of a country with an enviable pedigree when it came to cocoa production globally.

The scheme was, therefore, to help give an assurance of retirement for the farmers when they could no longer work actively.
 
The scheme

The Scheme, which he said was long overdue, was designed to ensure that farmers benefited from their contribution to the economy and ensure that at the retiring age, they had something to fall on due to their enormous contributions to the country.

Mr Boafo explained that for effective and efficient management, the cocoa pension scheme had been placed under the National Pension Regulatory Authority (NPRA).

“The scheme was designed in a way that the farmers will contribute five per cent of the produce sold at the cocoa shed out of which COCOBOD also contributes one per cent and the trustees will manage the funds on behalf of the cocoa farmers,” he said.

Under the scheme, he explained that two accounts would be created to run throughout the period of the contribution.

The first account would hold the 25 per cent which the farmer could access in critical situations for expansion of their farms, financing their children's education, among others, as well as 75 per cent reserved for the retiring age.

“After the farmers retire, they are supposed to receive a lump sum and for a minimum of 15 years of benefits by way of monthly pension benefits”. 

PNDC Law 81

The scheme, he said, was in fulfilment of Section 26 of the Ghana Cocoa Board Law 1984 (PNDC Law 81), which mandated COCOBOD to establish contributory insurance for cocoa farmers which was not implemented for more than three decades.

The scheme, he said came with a high level of flexibility that enabled the farmers to access the fund or their contribution at very critical moments to meet their financial obligation.

“If the farmer is still alive, they will continue to enjoy the monthly benefits, but in a situation where the farmer passes after 15 years, that will be the end of it,” Mr Boafo said.

He explained that even before the 15 years, if the farmer passed on, the beneficiaries of the farmer would be contacted and made to benefit from the contribution the farmer had.

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