Last December, Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, established a pension system for cocoa farmers, 36 years after the legislation was passed to that effect. However, the initiative has yet to go live after six months, and cocoa producers are still waiting.
Ghana’s cocoa farmers pension scheme is expected to begin operations in October 2021, with 1.5 million farmers signed up. The National Pension Regulatory Authority (NPRA) said it has been working with the Ghana Cocoa Board and other stakeholders on the mechanisms for implementing the program.
The regulator said that the pension scheme would start once ‘Processes had been streamlined’. The system is designed to work on the point of sale, so that farmers will be credited when they sell their cocoa to a Licensed Buying Company (LBC).
5% of the value of the beans sold will be deducted and credited to the farmer’s account electronically, but there is the possibility, according to the regulator that the government could top that contribution up by a further 1 per cent.
The fund itself is split into two, with 75% of the contributions going toward the long-term investment fund that will then pay out a salary when the pension holder reaches the retirement age (currently 60 years old). The remaining 25% goes into a savings plan which the farmer can withdraw after two years if necessary.
The government hopes that this approach will encourage more farmers to put something aside so that they have funds they can rely on for a dignified retirement.