About 246 farmers who are on the board of the Fiji Co-operative Dairy Company Ltd (FCDCL) will now be able to join the Fiji National Provident Funds (FNPF) voluntary scheme.
This comes after the two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding in Suva yesterday.
According to FNPF chief executive officer Viliame Vodonaivalu the partnership allowed them to establish contact and network in new areas.
“We are delighted to have the dairy farmers onboard because it’s an opportunity for them to start putting aside some funds for their retirement,” he said.
“A dairy farmer in like any agriculture sector, are a key part of our economy.”
Mr Vodonaivalu said the COVID-19 pandemic had shown how important retirement savings was for the future and from today dairy farmers would be able to discover the benefits of setting aside their funds for the future.
“The benefit includes zero fees and tax on the account, on average historically 5.6 per cent average interest rate paid to members over the last three years and ability to choose whether to save their contribution to either general or preserve account.
“Farmers will also have the choice to walk in and make a lump sum payment to FNPF account if they so wish.
“This key benefit is available to both compulsory and voluntary members to help grow their retirement saving faster.”
The MOU also establishes the collaboration between FNPF and FCDCL to facilitate registration and contribution payment for dairy farmers.
Mr Vodonaivalu said FNPF would conduct awareness session for farmers and provide them with information which empowered them to make informed decisions regarding retirement.
“The farmers will agree to an amount to be paid for the voluntary contribution and this will be deducted from their pay by FCDCL,” he said.
FCDCL chief executive officer Kushmendra Prasad said they wanted to come up with a way to allow farmers have the benefits that most employed people had with FNPF.
“So if a rich business person can pay FNPF for their employees, we as a co-operative should work together with FNPF and get farmers onboard and let farmers be part of FNPF,” he said.
Mr Prasad said should the farmers need to pay for their children’s education in the future, they could do so through FNPF.
“FNPF savings will allow them to have their children also part of the educational scheme and their retirement plan also and some are retired farmers they also want to keep some savings in FNPF.
“We will deduct this payment on behalf of farmers once they sign their voluntary forms and get it approved with FNPF and will help the farmers with FNPF to get the covered amount to be remitted to FNPF.”