Government is working with the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to design and implement a sustainable pension scheme for cocoa farmers, the Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has disclosed.
Speaking in Accra at the 20th anniversary celebration of Olam Cocoa Ghana, chaired by the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, on Wednesday 25th September, 2019, Vice President Bawumia indicated that consultations between the Economic Management Team (EMT) and officials of NPRA are ongoing, and finality is expected soon.
“We are working with the National Pension Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to introduce a pension scheme for cocoa farmers. Work on this is far advanced and we expect another round of presentations at the Economic Management Team by the NPRA before we submit it to Cabinet for approval but I think it’s quite advanced. It is very 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 is very important,” he said.
When operational, the Pension Scheme is expected to improve the welfare of cocoa farmers, coming on the heels of a global agreement to pay cocoa farmers a living income differential from the next crop buying season which begins on October 1, 2020.
Bemoaning the lack of interest among the youth in cocoa farming, Vice President Bawumia commended the Ghana Cocoa Board for introducing youth-specific initiatives to make cocoa farming more attractive.
“A major threat to sustainable cocoa production is the ageing cocoa farmers and the lack of interest shown by the youth in cocoa farming. To reverse this trend, Ghana Cocoa Board is implementing the “Youth in Cocoa Initiative” with the goal to attract young men and women into cocoa farming.
“The programme has identified young men and women who are interested in cocoa farming and provided them with the necessary support. These youth groups are being used as advocacy groups to prove to other young men and women that cocoa farming is lucrative.
Vice President Bawumia praised Olam Ghana for 20 years of growth and success in Ghana, emphasising that the Akufo-Addo government would continue to create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.
“Government is aware of the many achievements of Olam Ghana, parent company of Olam Cocoa, in the agro-commodity sector of the economy. The company has gradually become one of the leading agro-commodity companies in the country. Your involvement in the export of cashew, and your tomato paste processing and canning has not escaped the eye of Government.
“We have made it a policy not to engage in activities that will put impediments or bottlenecks in the way of the private sector. Since we came into office, we have been working tirelessly to build a business-friendly environment that can attract private sector investment in order to create jobs and to grow the economy towards building a Ghana beyond aid.
“We shall continue to press forward in our efforts to achieve this noble goal. We want to celebrate the success stories of many more private companies, whether they are Ghanaian-owned or foreign-owned, just as we are witnessing today.”
In a related development, officials of Olam Ghana have handed over dummy cheques worth Ghs50,000 each to nine chiefs in their main areas of operation for the establishment of Educational Funds. A 10th community, Kwaboadi, received Ghs20,000 for the construction of a clinic.
Vice President Bawumia, assisted by Mr Gerard Manley, CEO of Olam Cocoa who is also a member of Olam Group’s Executive Committee and is Executive Chairman of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Function, also unveiled Olam Ghana’s “20 Communities Project”, designed to provide potable drinking water to 20 communities across the country.