Opanyin Kwabena Nkrumah, a 103-year-old cocoa farmer from Adansi Atobiase, has become one of the first people to enrol on the Cocoa Farmer Pension Scheme, which is presently being piloted in the Ashanti Region.
The centenarian was among a group of cocoa farmers who went to the registration centre in the early hours of the first day of the registration exercise and were taken through the registration process.
Opayin Nkrumah expressed his delight at having gone through the process. He urged the younger generation of cocoa farmers to seize the opportunity to register with the scheme and make their contributions to secure a comfortable retirement.
“Look at me, at my age, I still harvest and sell cocoa. I have been farming for over 50 years. I still love cocoa farming and the pension scheme is a step in the right direction. We have been waiting for it for a long time and we are grateful to the government for it,” he said.
The ongoing pilot registration exercise will go on for 14 days. Within the period some 2,800 volunteer farmers will be enrolled on the scheme. The farmers will provide feedback to help improve the designed operational framework for the nationwide registration scheduled for October of this year.
Mr. Arnold Mensa-Bonsu, an IT Consultant working with the Implementation Team for the scheme said the qualification criteria for enrolment onto the scheme does not include an age limit.
“Actually, there is no age limit to register. However, for a farmer who joins at an age lower than 50, they will be eligible for retirement at 55 years but those who join at age 50 and above, they are eligible for retirement after five years”, he disclosed.
The Chairman of the Implementation Committee, Mr. Charles Osei-Akoto, also indicated that farmers will choose beneficiaries, in the instance of their passing, during the registration process.
The institution of the Cocoa Farmer Pension Scheme is in fulfilment of provisions in the Ghana Cocoa Board Law 1984 (PNDC Law 81) which enjoins the Board of Directors of COCOBOD to establish a contributory insurance for Cocoa Farmers.
The scheme also forms part of a broader goal to improve the living standards of cocoa farmers in Ghana. It intends to provide a suitable retirement income to cocoa farmers for them to maintain a decent standard of living after retirement.
Source: Daily Mail GH