Cocoa Farmers To Be Registered Under Pension Scheme
Mr. Geoffrey Sam, the Ashanti Regional Extension Officer of the Cocoa Health Extension Division (CHED of COCOBOD), has announced a nationwide registration of all members of Cocoa farmer cooperatives.
This he said is to facilitate a data base for the deduction of farmer's contributions, ahead of the implementation of farmers Pension Scheme.
He said the registration exercise will take place in January 2019 with the inauguration of all farmers' Cooperative Unions to pave way for the commencement of the Pension scheme - a government innovative intervention for cocoa farmers nationwide.
Mr. Sam gave the hint when responding to concerns of farmers on the delays in the implementation of the pension scheme at a famers' forum held by CHED at Domeabra in Asante-Akim North District of Ashanti.
He said the decision to register all the farmers was an important pre-requisite to ensure a smooth take-off of the scheme assuring farmers to exercise restraint as due diligence was being done to expedite the process.
Mr. Sam also spoke of COCOBOD's commitment to improve the productivity and livelihoods of cocoa farmers across the Country and pledged strong extension support for the farmers to raise crop yield and returns.
Nana Agnes Baidoo popularly known as ''Kyem pe'', a 71 year old cocoa farmer from Juansa, a farming community, expressing concern about the delays in the implementation of the scheme, said such a programme for farmers is long overdue since cocoa farmers have over a long period contributed immensely to the Ghanaian economy.
'However, with no such guarantees to safeguard a better life for us in our old age, most farmers do not enjoy long life after their long years of sweat and toil' Nana Baidoo who owes a six hectare cocoa farm added.
The old lady who says she has been engaged in cocoa cropping since 1985, wondered why almost all formal workers in the Country and globally enjoy some form of pension packages in their retirement, but not cocoa farmers, who have supported the Ghanaian economy to date.
'We therefore applauded government's decision to implement such an important programme, we are however sending a reminder to the government to redeem his promise to us without any further delays', she added.
She said implementing the pension scheme for cocoa farmers will make the industry attractive and motivate the youth to respond to the call to engage in agriculture.
Nana Afum Agyarkoh Amoah II, Kontihene of Domeabra traditional area commended CHED for the opportunity given to farmers to express their worries and challenges in their farming business and urged the government to take the various concerns and well-being of farmers across the country into serious consideration.
By Gideon D. Ebbah, GNA