Ashanti Regional Extension Officer of the Cocoa Health Extension Division (CHED) of the Ghana Cocoa Board COCOBOD), Mr. Geoffrey Sam, has announced a nationwide registration of all members of Cocoa farmer cooperatives.
This, he said, is to facilitate a database for the deduction of farmers’ contributions, ahead of the implementation of the Farmers’ Pension Scheme.
According to him, 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’s innovative intervention for cocoa farmers nationwide.
Mr. Sam gave the hint when responding to concerns of farmers on the delay in the implementation of the scheme at a famers’ forum held by CHED at Domeabra in the Asante-Akim North District of the Ashanti Region.
He said the decision to register all the farmers was an important pre-requisite to ensure a smooth take-off of the scheme, urging 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 them to raise crop yield and returns.
Nana Agnes Baidoo, popularly known as ‘‘Kyem pe’,’ a 71-year-old cocoa farmer from Juansa, expressing concern about the delay in the implementation of the scheme, said such a programme for farmers was long overdue since cocoa farmers have over a long period contributed immensely to the Ghanaian economy.
The old lady, who said she had 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 delay,” she charged.
Nana Afum Agyarkoh Amoah II, Kontihene of Domeabra Traditional Area, commended CHED for the opportunity given to farmers to express their worries and challenges and urged the government to take the various concerns and well-being of farmers across the country into serious consideration