Ghana: Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme Kicks Off

Cocoa farmers

Accra, Ghana//-As part of efforts to secure the future of cocoa farmers in Ghana, COCOBOD has commenced the registration of farmers in cocoa growing areas under its Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme in the Western North and Ashanti Regions.

Already, COCOBOD has engaged over 2,800 volunteer farmers under the scheme in the New Edubiase district of the Ashanti Region, where most cocoa farmers have registered with the Cocoa Management System (CMS).

The exercise is expected to continue as the 2021/2022 crop season starts, and is aimed at helping cocoa farmers live a decent life after retiring from active farming.

“I urge all farmers to cooperate with the CMS officials and make every effort to register for the Cocoa Card to enable them to access the Scheme,” Chief Executive of COCOBOD Joseph Boahen Aidoo said in a statement during announcement of the Cocoa Producer Price.

He assured that all the needed processes have been put in place to make the scheme a success.

Highlighting benefits of the scheme, Mr. Aidoo was optimistic the initiative will help cocoa farmers take care of themselves and their families after active work – no matter the size of their farms.

He stated that even though the pilot programme is voluntary, COCOBOD has urged all farmers to take advantage of the actual exercise which commenced on October 1, 2021.

Electronic scales deployed

With commencement of the 2021/2022 crop season on October 8, Mr. Aidoo announced that COCOBOD in collaboration with Produce Buying Companies has secured and deployed electronic weighing scales to all cocoa buying centres across the country.

“This initiative is to solve the long-standing scale manipulation menace usually perpetuated by Purchasing Clerks (PCs),” he said, adding that “these machines cannot be tampered with by PCs, and will therefore guarantee value for money.”

He maintained that the move will also bring to an end to complaints and disagreements at weighing centres in rural areas.

Plans for new season

Stating COCOBOD’s plans for the 2021/2022 season, Mr. Aidoo applauded cocoa farmers for adhering to good extension and agronomic practices.

“I am happy our farmers adopted our productivity enhancement programmes (PEPs) including the mass pruning, hand pollination and irrigation; and the new regime of fertiliser application and mass spraying exercises to increase the average yield per hectare from 450kg to 1,000kg, a journey which began some 5 years ago.”

This, he said, led to an increase in productivity relative to reduction in land size caused by peri-urbanization, cocoa swollen-shoot virus disease, and illegal mining among other factors.

“The increase in productivity recorded this year should motivate us to stick to cocoa farming and stop ceding our cocoa farms to other ‘competing land uses’, particularly illegal mining.”