On the occasion of this year’s Farmers’ Day, the Coalition for Cocoa Sector Reforms (CSR) is pushing for expedited action on the implementation of a cocoa farmers’ pension scheme announced by the government.
Government has said it is working with the National Pensions Regulatory Authority to design and implement a sustainable pension scheme for cocoa farmers in the country to cushion them on their retirement.
“A major threat to sustainable cocoa production is the ageing cocoa farmers and the lack of interest shown by the youth in cocoa farming,” vice president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia observed at the 20th-anniversary celebration of Olam Cocoa Ghana in September this year.
According to the CSR, while workers of COCOBOD and its subsidiaries as well as licenced cocoa buying companies and stakeholders in the cocoa supply value chain enjoy better conditions of service, same cannot be said of cocoa farmers despite their selfless work.
“Cocoa continues to be the mainstay of Ghana’s agricultural economy and it is worth celebrating the work of cocoa farmers for their enormous contribution to the country,” CSR said in a statement issued Friday.
The sector, it said, accounts for over a million jobs and livelihood to about six million, and also a major contributor to Ghana’s GDP and export earnings.
On the back of that, it wants the government to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and development in cocoa communities since they have not fared better in the last couple of years.
It is thus asking the government to expedite action on the implementation of the announced cocoa farmers’ pension scheme, restore and resume works on cocoa roads improvement projects.
Again, CSR is asking for the reformation of the cocoa pricing strategy to reduce the over dependence of COCOBOD and its subsidiaries on cocoa revenues, increase transparency in the activities of the producer price review committee including the payment of bonuses from premiums.
“Make the COCOBOD scholarships (now for tertiary students) transparent and available to the low income cocoa farmers,” it added.
It has meanwhile congratulated gallant cocoa farmers “for the selfless work” they continue to do in the interest of mother Ghana.
“The Coalition for Cocoa Sector Reforms will continue to advocate for cocoa farmers in Ghana on policies of interest for government attention and implementation for improved living conditions,” it assured the farmers.