Enrolment of cocoa farmers onto the much-anticipated Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme (CFPS) has begun in the Ashanti region, according to the Board of Trustees of the scheme.
This has become necessary after the successful implementation of Cocoa Management Systems (CMS) under the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) which captured a credible database of all cocoa farmers in the country.
The scheme which was launched by President Akufo-Addo on December 2, 2020 is to provide pension for about 1.5 million cocoa farmers.
This, according to the President, will enable cocoa farmers to make voluntary contributions towards their retirement, whilst COCOBOD makes a supplementary contribution on behalf of the farmers as well.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the scheme, Daniel Aidoo Mensah at a press conference in Kumasi Wednesday, March 22, 2023, said the enrolment is ongoing at Bekwai, New Edubiase and Obuasi in the Ashanti region.
“For the start, the Ashanti and Western South Cocoa Regions have been selected for this phase. Altogether some 15 cocoa districts, where data captured by the CMS have been declared clean. There are also plans to scale up the exercise to cover the remaining 55 cocoa districts in the country,” Mr Aidoo Mensah said.
“Government and private sector workers contribute during their working life and we expect our farmers to also contribute in order to enjoin a comfortable retirement. This is the essence of the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme,” he added.
He noted that 5% of every sale of beans by the farmer will be deducted and transferred into the pension accounts with the government adding its contribution.
During the press conference, Mr Aidoo Mensah reminded the farmers that the scheme is compulsory for all registered cocoa farmers in Ghana and its primary aims are to ensure a decent pension for cocoa farmers; improve their welfare and also make farming attractive to the youth.
He was quick to also remind them that the enrolment process is free of charge as farmers will not be asked to pay any amount.
“Age is not a barrier. At any age, a farmer can sign on to a scheme. However, 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 decided to retire from it. But a young farmer who signs onto the scheme may opt to be retired at age 55 or decide to remain on it and retire at a later date,” he also explained.
Mr Aidoo Mensah in his statement concluded that “the scheme will primarily operate through the purchasing clerks.”