NDC promises free healthcare for cocoa farmers

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has promised to provide Free Primary Healthcare for all cocoa farmers if it forms the next government after the December elections.

The NDC in its manifesto launched in Accra on Monday, 7 September 2020 said it will exempt all cocoa farmers from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) premium payment for secondary and tertiary care.

The biggest opposition party also said it will create a biometric database of all cocoa farmers and make available at all cocoa clinics so that at any point in time, cocoa farmers and their dependents can have access to free healthcare at the cocoa clinics in the various cocoa growing regions in the country.

“In addition to the existing Cocoa Clinics in Accra, Tafo (Eastern Region) Debiso and Kumasi, the next NDC government will ensure that the COCOBOD builds well-equipped hospitals in each of the cocoa-growing regions,” the manifesto said.

Touching on cocoa roads, the NDC noted that when if it forms the next government, it will revive and broaden the scope of the Cocoa Roads Project implemented under the past NDC Government to cover more cocoa-growing areas.

This, according to them, will facilitate the easy evacuation of cocoa beans, as well as the rapid development of the cocoa-growing areas.

The party also says it will resume all abandoned cocoa road projects and pay all contractors whose certificates have not been honoured by the Akufo-Addo’s NPP government.

On pensions, “the next NDC government will ensure the establishment of a pension scheme for cocoa farmers so they can enjoy pensions in their old age as already captured under the pensions sector,” the manifesto captured.

The NDC further promised to ensure the consistent annual increment of the cocoa price to make cocoa farming more attractive, especially to the youth and continue to provide free agro-inputs (fertiliser, insecticides, fungicides, etc.) and extension services to all cocoa farmers.

The opposition party is also promising to institute additional livelihood programmes for farmers. “Such programmes will include training on grasscutter rearing, bee farming, honey production, soap and pomade making, poultry farming, as well as cultivation of other cash and food crops.”

To empower women cocoa farmers, the John Mahama-led NDC noted that it will ensure that no female cocoa farmer is left behind, support women in cocoa farming to have easy access to extension services, agro-inputs and also to actively participate in cocoa farming-related programmes that will be rolled out for the benefit of all cocoa farmers and institute an award scheme for female cocoa farmers as a way of encouraging more women, especially young ones, to consider cocoa farming as a lucrative farming venture.

To encourage the youth in cocoa programme the NDC assured that its next government will continue to support and encourage the youth to consider cocoa farming as a lucrative farming business under the Youth in Cocoa Farming Programme and also resume the free Hybrid Seedlings Programme for cocoa farmers and scale it up to over 100 million hybrid cocoa seedlings a year for cocoa farmers.

The party in its manifesto has also promised to establish another Cocoa College in the Western North Region for the training of cocoa farmers and extension officers in the Western, Western North, Bono, Ahafo and the western part of Ashanti regions.

The Bunso Cocoa College will take care of cocoa farmers and extension officers in Eastern, Central, Volta and the remaining parts of Ashanti Region and resume the Child Educational Support Programme to eliminate the worst forms of child labour in cocoa-growing regions.

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