Cocoa Farmers’ Pension Scheme is a Reality due to the Visionary Traits of Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto
By EASTERN CITIZENS
Ghana, the world’s second largest cocoa producer, has finally launched a pension scheme for cocoa farmers thirty-seven (37) years after the promulgation of a law to that effect. This was made possible under the sterling leadership of Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the hard working Minister for Food and Agriculture. An estimated 1.5 million cocoa farmers are expected to enrol on the scheme for financial support during retirement.
The successful implementation of this project will be a welcome boost of the morale of our hardworking cocoa farmers who have been able to improve the cocoa production from about 778,000 tonnes for the 2015/2016 season to 1.1 million tonnes for the 2020/2021 season under the sterling leadership of the workaholic Agricultural Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto. The 2020/2021 cocoa production is the Nation’s highest ever production in her history; a break of a decade’s record of 1.0 million tonnes for the 2010/2011 season.
This historic milestone has been possible due to the Ministry’s introduction of the Productivity Enhancement Programme (PEP). The interventions under the PEP include the rehabilitation of cocoa farms, mechanised pruning, fertiliser subsidy, mass spraying, artificial hand pollination, irrigation, expansion of cocoa extension service, distribution of high yielding cocoa seeds and continuous farmer education on good agronomic practices.
Ghana has a majority of its cocoa farmers being above 50 years because the occupation has been highly unattractive to the youth due to low incomes and lack of social protection schemes like pension benefits. The story has however changed for the better under Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto after his vow, institution and implementation of highly plausible measures and intervention programmes such as Productivity Enhancement Programme, Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme, Electronic Weighing Scales, Living Income Differencial (LIB), among others.
Opanyin Kwabena Nkrumah, a 103 years old man from Adansi Atobiase, after registering for the scheme on the first day of the Pilot registration noted that he has been farming for 50years, and that, cocoa farmers are very enthused about the scheme because they have been waiting for the implementation of the scheme for a long time since its enactment in 1984, and so, they are of immense gratitude to the Minister for his vision and the Scheme’s implementation. He further counseled the youth to move into cocoa farming and as well seize the opportunity to register with the scheme at an early age to enable them to contribute for more years to enjoy a hefty and decent pension.
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) was mandated, under Section 26 of the COCOBOD Law, 1984 (PNDC L.81), to establish a Contributory Insurance Scheme for Cocoa Farmers within the framework of the Social Security Scheme, so that, cocoa farmers could enjoy a well-deserved pension, upon retirement.
The Pension scheme dubbed Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme was launched in Kumasi on Tuesday, 1st December 2020.
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