The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD ) has justified its decision to contribute 1% to the cocoa farmers’ pension scheme.
Per the arrangement, a registered cocoa farmer is required to make a 5% mandatory contribution of his or her produce while COCOBOD pays a minimum top-up contribution of 1% of the farmer’s produce on behalf of the farmer.
However, some stakeholders in the cocoa sector have described COCOBOD’s contribution to the scheme as woefully inadequate.
Reacting to the development, the deputy chief executive in charge of operations at COCOBOD, Dr Emmanuel Opoku, said the regulator does not have the financial muscle to go beyond the 1%.
“Already we are paying 87% of the producer price for cocoa… Now the crop protection chemical and then the fertilizers, then all the other components we get to the farmer is coming from the same resources, so the best is what we are giving out now,” Opoku said.
“COCOBOD does not make a profit,” he added.
About the pension scheme
The Cocoa Farmers’ Pension Scheme is a regulated scheme sponsored by the Ghana Cocoa Board and the Government of Ghana for the sole benefit of registered cocoa farmers and their beneficiaries.
It is compulsory for all registered cocoa farmers in Ghana (issued with the Cocoa card)
The scheme aims at ensuring a decent pension for cocoa farmers, improving their welfare, and making cocoa farming attractive to the younger generation for the sustainability of the cocoa sector.
The institution of the Cocoa Farmer Pension Scheme is in fulfilment of provisions in the Ghana Cocoa Board Law 1984 (PNDC Law 81) which enjoin the COCOBOD board of directors to establish contributory insurance for cocoa farmers.
The scheme is also in line with a broader goal to improve living standards for cocoa farmers in Ghana. It intends to provide a suitable retirement income to the farmers so that they can maintain a decent standard of living after retirement.