The National Ghana National Cocoa Farmers Association (GNACOFA) has given the Akufo-Addo government up to October this year to implement the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme.
The National President of GNACOFA, Mr. Stevenson Anane Boateng, who spoke to Oheneba Boamah Bennieh on Dwaboase on Power 97.9 FM Tuesday indicated that farmers were waiting for the government to fulfill its promise to the suffering farmers.
The scheme which has been on the drawing board since 1984, was launched by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in December 2020.
The government said the scheme, will benefit 1.5 million farmers from the start.
President Akufo-Addo at the launch of the scheme also said it would enable cocoa farmers to make voluntary contributions towards their retirement, while the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) would make supplementary contributions on behalf of the farmers for a hustle-free life later when they retire.
But Mr Anane Boateng who leads thousands of cocoa farmers has said the government’s commitment to implementing the scheme is not encouraging, thereby threatening to stop members from bringing foodstuff from their farms to the markets should the government fails to meet their demands.
“When the president launched the scheme, a board of trustees was unveiled but as I speak now, a board has not been inaugurated to steer the affairs of the scheme let a lone a secretariat,” Anane Boateng lamented.
He said COCOBOD had failed to pick the matter up despite concerns raised by the Council of State to fastrack the implementation of the pension scheme.
“We have watched for quite too long but it looks like nothing is happening. We are giving the government up to October to act. If nothing happens, what will happen will happen,” he added and warned, “we will erect billboards across the country to expose the government’s failure to fulfil its promise.”
“We will put out information on billboards that the government of Nana Akufo-Addo has lied to Ghanaian cocoa farmers if he fails to implement the scheme,” Anane Boateng noted.
Meanwhile, the government says COCOBOD had started a census to collect data on farmers to be fed into the Cocoa Management System (CMS) prior to the launch of the pension scheme.
The pension scheme is hinged on Section 26 of the COCOBOD Law 1984, PNDC Law 81. The ACT is to see to the establishment of a contributor insurance scheme for cocoa farmers within the framework of the social security scheme, so that the farmers could enjoy a decent pension.