Entertainment

Coffee festival to brew in March

Thursday, January 25, 2018

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JULIET Holness says coffee farmers should be looking at various options to expand the industry.

“We would like to expand the coffee industry so that the pharmaceutical industry, the beauty and cosmetic sector, and gastronomy will look to the hills of East Rural St Andrew as the source of sustenance,” she said.

Holness, Member of Parliament for St Andrew East Rural, was speaking at the press launch of the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday.

The three-day event, from March 23-25, is scheduled for the Jamaica Defence Force training ground in the hills of Newcastle in St Andrew.

“The farmers are serious about the reputation of the Jamaican coffee, the taste of our coffee, and the sustainability of our coffee for our people,” she said.

“We're [also] expanding knowledge around the use of intellectual property safeguards, so that our associated brand and its value are not lost in the process,” she continued.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association (JCEA), Norman Grant, said his organisation views the festival as very timely and as a perfect fit for the expansion of the industry.

He said statistics from the Coffee Industry Board indicate that the local industry was estimated to value between US$50 million and US$60 million in 2017.

He commended the Ministry of Tourism, as well as the Linkages Network, for “taking on this project so we can share this superb coffee story that began in (Jamaica) in 1728”.

“It will be our task (JCEA) to pursue market development and diversification, product expansion and proliferation, as well as brand development and positioning, to proudly take the world's best coffee, the Jamaica Blue Mountain... [globally],” he said.

The coffee festival is expected to bring together local and international coffee connoisseurs, coffee suppliers, foodies and other interested parties.

The main target markets are local and regional, with emphasis on the Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados. At the international level, emphasis will be placed on the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Canada.

Among the festivals features are business development workshops for farmers and a culinary trail.

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