Members of the Ghana National Cocoa Farmers Association have said they will begin protesting over the implementation of the cocoa farmers’ pension scheme from December 1, 2021.
As part of the protest, it plans to withhold produce from markets.
The farmers are kicking against the scheme’s implementation and have questioned the composition of the board used by the Ghana Cocoa Board to carry out the program.
Speaking at a news conference in Kumasi, President of the Ghana National Association of Cocoa Farmers, Stevenson Anane Boateng, says members will also boycott the upcoming Farmers’ Day celebrations as part of their protest.
“We are going to demonstrate, and from the beginning of December, our foodstuffs we produce from our farms will never move from our farms to get to the market.”
“Besides, we will not sell our cocoa to the government, and also, on Farmers’ Day, we will not attend the programme,” Mr. Boateng said.
President Akufo-Addo, in December 2020, launched the scheme to provide guaranteed retirement benefits to over 1.5 million cocoa farmers across the country.
The scheme was piloted in October 2020 at New Edubiase in the Ashanti Region, but some cocoa farmers continue to kick against the programme.
Under Section 26 of the COCOBOD Law, 1984 (PNDC L.81), the Ghana Cocoa Board was mandated to establish a Contributory Insurance Scheme for Cocoa Farmers within the framework of the Social Security Scheme.
As part of the pension scheme, cocoa farmers were to make voluntary contributions towards their retirement, while the Ghana Cocoa Board made a supplementary contribution.
Ghana is estimated to have 1.5 million cocoa farmers, many of whom are believed to be poor although they deal with Ghana’s most valuable cash crop.