The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has launched the first cocoa farmers insurance scheme in the country for a cooperative cocoa farmers society of over 200 members at Akyem Asene, near Oda, in the Eastern Region.
The scheme was launched in conjunction with the Ghana Agricultural Insurance Pool and PULA, a global insurance company.
The Deputy Manager of COCOBOD in charge of the Cocoa Disease and Pest Control Unit, Dr Isaac Boakye-Danquah, said when the programme succeeds, it would be extended to all the cocoa-growing communities in the country to bring financial relief to cocoa farmers.
He stressed that agricultural insurance had been a difficult area for insurers due to the high risk in the sector where success partly depended on nature issues of pests and diseases, coupled with matters of climate change.
“Agricultural insurance will provide the enabling platform for farmers to insure their crops against yield losses,” he stated.
Dr. Boakye-Danquah commended the Ghana Agricultural Insurance Pool for spearheading insurance in the agricultural sector to indemnify farmers against potential losses.
He said the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) welcomed the initiative of PULA to support COCOBOD in its quest to provide climate-resilient support to cocoa farmers in the country.
“As we launch the cocoa insurance pilot scheme, we encourage cocoa farmers to embrace the idea and collaborate effectively to achieve success,” Dr Boakye-Danquah said, adding that “both PULA – the insurer – and the insured cocoa farmers are expected to work closely on the basis of transparency for the sustainability of the programme”.
The Commercial Manager for West Africa Anglophone of PULA, Chukwuma Kalu, said his outfit—which started the agricultural insurance scheme in Kenya in 2015—was now operational in eight countries in Africa, including Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mozambique and Cote d’Ivoire.
He added that the scheme had also been extended to Turkey in Europe, Nepal and Pakistan in Asia and Latin American countries such as Brazil and Mexico.
Mr Kalu explained that the cocoa insurance scheme was a protection to cocoa farmers against losses caused by floods, drought, hail, pests and diseases, excessive rainfall, and excess temperature, among others.
The Chairman of the Asene Cooperative Cocoa Farmers Society, Nana Amoa Daadom, appealed to the government to increase the producer price of cocoa to an appreciable level this year in view of the high cost of labour as a result of the increase in the prices of petroleum products.
He stressed that the prices of commodities in the country had skyrocketed due to the increase of transport fares.
He said even though farmers were feeling the heat of the economic hardship, they could not demonstrate like government employees to back their demands, but that they could only appeal to the government to increase the producer price of cocoa to mitigate their situation.