THE first-ever private pension scheme for cocoa farmers has been launched in the country by the Cocoa Abrabopa Association, a non-profit group of cocoa farmers seeking a better life for its members.
The launch coincided with the first annual general meeting of the association in Kumasi last Thursday.
The main objective of the scheme is to provide a long-term retirement plan for members of the association.
Under the scheme, benefits would be paid to members or their nominated beneficiaries in the event of old age, permanent disability or death.
Contributions to the scheme, among other things, are determined at a fixed percentage of a member’s income that was earned before retirement.
In spite of the immense contribution of Ghana’s cocoa farmers to the development of the nation, they have been marginalised, and as a result have been left to fend for themselves when they grow old.
The marginalisation is manifested in all forms of social security arrangements.
This problem is further compounded by the laborious nature of cocoa farming which does not appear attractive to the youth.
Hence in old age, the cocoa farmers’ income from their farms normally cease because the farms become in-operational.
It is for these reasons and others that the Cocoa Abrabopa Association, which was established in January 2008, launched the pension scheme for cocoa farmers.
The core business of the association include the training and education of cocoa farmers on excellent farm maintenance practices and entrepreneurial skills, soil fertility management and how to improve cocoa production, both on a small scale and large scale.
Launching the pension scheme, a member of the council of elders of the association, Mr Kwame Sarpong, said the time had come for the country’s cocoa farmers to be given the necessary support to enable them to produce more for the nation.
He said cocoa remained one of the nation’s biggest foreign exchange earners, and that those who produced it must be given the due recognition.
Mr Sarpong said the association was doing everything possible to get its members to increase production.
The chairman of the council of elders of the association, Mr Graham Ango Kissi, in his welcoming address said the association and its partners sought to push the laudable initiatives to improve the livelihood of cocoa farmers.