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Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has begun the pilot phase of the implementation of the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme, scheduled to be fully rolled out in October this year.
The two-week exercise is being used to test the planned operational framework designed for the scheme. A sample size of 2800 volunteer farmers has been drawn from 28 cocoa-growing communities within the New Edubiase Cocoa District, in the Ashanti Region, for the pilot exercise.
The exercise aims at providing hands-on experiences and relevant feedback which will be used to modify and enhance the modalities for the full rollout.
The Chairman of the Implementation Committee, Mr Charles Osei-Akoto, in an interaction with volunteer farmers explained the registration process and requirements.
“You will be required to show your Cocoa Card issued by COCOBOD during the CMS exercise and after that, you will be assisted to complete a form, then your cocoa is weighed to ascertain the actual value. A 5% deduction is then made as your contribution any time you sell your cocoa”, he said to the farmers.
Mr Osei-Akoto further noted that farmers will receive prompt alerts on their mobile devices to indicate that their accounts have been duly credited. The government will also instantly credit 1% of the value of the cocoa sold by a farmer to that farmer’s account.
The Ghana Cocoa Board Law 1984 (PNDC Law 81) enjoins the Board of Directors of COCOBOD to implement a contributory insurance and welfare scheme that provides a decent pension for cocoa farmers.
Furtherance to this provision, in December 2020, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, launched the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme in Kumasi to demonstrate his commitment to improving the welfare of cocoa farmers in the country.
At the launch, President Akuffo-Addo tasked COCOBOD and the National Pensions Regulatory Authority to work out the modalities for the implementation of the scheme sooner rather than later.
Ahead of the rollout, COCOBOD introduced the Cocoa Management System (CMS) to create a database of all cocoa farmers in the country to facilitate the implementation of the scheme. For almost a year now, it has been building a strong and robust database on farmers across the country through the CMS.
Given the great strides chalked in some regions, including the Western South and Ashanti Regions, where the CMS registration exercise has been successfully carried out, the Implementation Committee for the pension scheme is confident that the full rollout phase will go according to plan.
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