Government is setting up a pension scheme that will take care of hardworking cocoa farmers, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has revealed.
Speaking at the 20th anniversary celebration of OLAM Ghana Cocoa in Accra yesterday, the Vice President said, “We are working with the National Pensions Regulatory Authority to introduce a pension scheme for cocoa farmers.”
According to him, “Work on this is far advanced and we expect another round of presentations at the Economic Management Team (EMT) by the National Pension Regulatory Authority before we submit to Cabinet for approval; but I think it’s very important that a pension scheme for cocoa farmers is put in place so that once they retire, they will have a source of income which will be very important.”
This comes at a time most of the country’s retired and aged farmers are struggling to make ends meet or literally dying like paupers.
He indicated that “government has instructed the COCOBOD…to ensure that because there now exists sufficient local capacity for the manufacturing of fertilizer, at least the blending of fertilizer, all fertilizers to be acquired must come from local companies.”
That, he said, was because “now, thanks to 1D1F, we have established the local capacity to satisfy our fertilizer demand and this will save the country foreign exchange.”
He hinted that Presidents Akufo-Addo and Allasane Ouatarra of La Côte d’ Ivoire, whose countries produce close to 67% of the world’s cocoa are working to determine the price of the product across the world, hopefully by the 2020 cocoa season, sometime in October.
He decried the lack of interest of the youth in farming, especially in the cocoa sector, and added that as a result, “Ghana COCOBOD is implementing the ‘Youth in Cocoa’ initiative with the goal to attract young men and women into cocoa farming.”
“This initiative has identified young men and women who are interested in cocoa farming and has provided them with the necessary support” and that “these youth groups are being used as advocacy groups to prove to other young men and women that cocoa farming is lucrative.”
He took the opportunity to commend OLAM Ghana Cocoa for reaching the milestone of its 20th anniversary.
Vice President Dr. Bawumia also unveiled a development project being undertaken by OLAM Ghana Cocoa to provide potable water to 20 communities across the country.
The company has also committed an amount of GH?500,000 towards the establishment of educational endowment funds in 10 communities within its operational areas, with each community receiving GH?50,000 each as seed capital to support needy but brilliant students in those areas.
The beneficiary traditional areas include Sefwi-Wiawso, Sefwi-Anhwiawso and Wassa Amenfi, all in the Western North and Western regions; Akyem Tafo in the Eastern Region and Olam Wa Na Educational Fund in the Northern Region.
Others are Olam Ahafoman Educational Fund, Olam Denkyireman Educational Fund, Tepaman Educational Fund, Kwaboadi Educational Fund and Olam Joseph Antwi Memorial Educational Fund.
The ceremony brought together more than 5,000 cocoa farmers across the country, cocoa purchasing clerks, traditional leaders and key partners in the cocoa value chain.