The Board of Trustees Of Cocoa Famers Pension Scheme under Cocobod has on today ,22nd March,2023 engaged Journalists in the Ashanti Region on plans to enroll Cocoa Famers Onto the Pension Scheme.
Speaking at the event at the Lancaster Hotel in Kumasi ,Mr Daniel Aidoo Mensah, Chairman of The Board of Trustees Of The Cocoa Famers Pension Scheme indicated ,the board considers the media as key statekholders in the cocoa sector, hence the decision to call them to an interactive session to share with them some useful information on plans to enroll cocoa farmers in the Ashanti Region onto the Scheme.
According to him,this was the first official encounter he is having with the media since his appointment as Chairman of the Board of CFPS, but he attested to the excellent and unrelenting support and cooperation that the media has given them in diverse ways towards the actualization of the initiative of the Ghana Cocoa Board.
He however acknowledged all cocoa farmers in Ghana for the role they play in the socio-economic development of the country, Ghana.
“Indisputably, Cocoa Famers remain the backbone of our country’s growth efforts by raking in billions of United States dollars annually to support the Ghanaian economy.
To demonstrate government’s commitment to the welfare of cocoa farmers in Ghana, His Excellency, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo on 1st December 2020 launched the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme in Kumasi and tasked the Ghana Cocoa Board, and National Pensions Regulatory Authority to come up with modalities to ensure that they give meaning to the provision in the PNDC Law 81 that enjoins COCOBOD to implement a scheme that provides cocoa farmers with decent pension.
In executing this mandate however, we realized a number of hurdles had to be removed to secure a pension scheme devoid of implementation challenges. The first hurdle was the need for a credible database on all cocoa farmers in the country. The second was using sample of the data captured on farmers to test-run the scheme’s modalities for a smooth full scale implementation.
As we know, the creation of a reliable database on farmers obviously required time in view of the fact that our cocoa farmers are many and scattered in communities across the country.”He further indicated.
Mr.Aidoo deduced that,In August 2021, after the Cocoa Management Systems (CMS) had recorded some significant strides at areas such as the New Edubiase in the Ashanti region, a 3-week pilot phase of the scheme was organized. Lessons learnt from the success of the project led to some structural reforms in the Scheme’s modalities.
Today, we are gathered to share with you updates on the on-going enrolment on to the Pension Scheme that has already begun in the Ashanti Region and also begin expanded sensitization and publicity on the Scheme.
The exercise forms part of a broader strategy to incrementally enrol cocoa farmers in the country on to the scheme.
“Cocoa Farmers in Juaso, New Edubiase, Antoakrom, Bekwai, Obuase, Nyinahini and Tepa who have been registered under the CMS and given cocoa cards are being enrolled at designated centres. We have therefore deployed enumerators to visit cocoa communities to enrol our farmers. Five days into the exercise, about 90% of registered cocoa farmers have already been enrolled in the districts selected for the Ashanti Region and each day records influx of armers eager to be enrolled on to the Pension Scheme. This is an indication of the willingness of farmers to enjoy a decent pension. of We therefore encourage other farmers who are yet to visit the enrolment centres to go and enrol to be part of this historic exercise.
As the slogan of the scheme goes “Adwumay3foc gye pension a, okuani nso begyebi”. Government and private sector workers contribute during their working life and we expect our farmers to also contribute in order to enjoin a confortable retirement. This is the essence of the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme.
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’ or deemed comprehensive are involved. There are also plans to scale up the exercise to cover the remaining 55 cocoa districts in the country. “He noted.
Mr.Aidoo however reminded media practitioners on the following important issues :
The enrolment process is free of charge. Farmers will not be asked to pay any amount.
Farmers are to go to the enrolment centres with their cocoa cards and also the correct names of persons they would like to nominate as beneficiaries.
Tune in to local FM Stations or community information centers for the time, date and venue for the enrolment exercise in the region.
Our expectation is that cocoa farmers will AVAIL THEMSELVES and visit the designated centres to enrol on to the scheme.
13. Let us also remind ourselves of the following basic facts about the scheme as I bring my statement to a close:
i) The scheme is a legal requirement under section 27 of the Ghana Cocoa Board Law 1984 (PNDC Law 81) and it is registered under the National Pensions Act 766 as a group personal pension scheme for cocoa farmers.
ii) It is compulsory for all registered cocoa farmers in Ghana.
iii) The primary aims of the CFPS are to ensure a decent pension for cocoa farmers; improve their welfare and also make farming attractive to the youth.
iv) Like any pension scheme, contributors make contributions to the scheme. In the CFPS, 5% of every sale of beans by the farmer will be deducted and transferred into the pension accounts. Government will also add its contribution.
v) 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.
vi) While on the scheme, a contributor may, after 5 years decide 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.
vii) The scheme will primarily operate through the purchasing clerks.
viii) It is regulated by the National Pensions Regulatory Authority and governed by a 10-member Board of Trustees which includes 4 cocoa farners.
14. I wish to appeal to you the media to make your platforms available to support edicatio and sensitization of the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme. Our publicity team is open to to engage with your platforms and we urge you not to hesistate to contact us for this purpose. Your Agric programmes will obviously provide a great advantage for our collective good.
15. Long Live the CFPS, long live the Republic of Ghana. I thank you all for your time.
Source: Ayisah Foster/Broadcastergh.com