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JACRA moves to 'blunt' sale of counterfeit coffee

Thursday, February 13, 2020

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA) says it is undertaking a major enforcement drive to blunt the pervasive distribution and sale of counterfeit coffee purporting to be authentic Jamaican premium brands.

JACRA, which will be supported in the effort by the National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NCRA) and the Major Organised Crime Authority (MOCA), was established two years ago to regulate the processing and trade of Jamaica's coffee, coconut, cocoa and spices.

JACRA estimates that the sector is losing millions of dollars to the illegal trade, largely in the misrepresentation of coffee.  In addition, it says that the counterfeit products, which are often of substandard quality, pose serious damage to the integrity and reputation of genuine Jamaican specialty products – Jamaica Blue Mountain and Jamaica High Mountain coffee. 

Given the real and potential damage to the regulated agricultural commodities sector, the anti-competitive effect of the illicit trade and its negative impact on the welfare of farmers and investors, JACRA says it must act.

“We will apply the full letter of the law, including the seizure of the contraband and the application of other enforcement measures,” a release from the Authority said.

“Over the years, JACRA has tried to use moral suasion and strident appeals to offending parties to adhere to good corporate governance and to cease and desist from this injurious practice, but to no avail. These enterprises know themselves and are familiar with the methods, including trademarks and labelling standards that can be used to assure the authenticity of the products and help to determine that only genuine products are marketed,” the release said.

“Given the real and potential damage to the regulated agricultural commodities sector, the anti-competitive effect of the illicit trade and its negative impact on the welfare of farmers and investors, JACRA must act and we will apply the full letter of the law, including the seizure of the contraband and the application of other enforcement measures,” it added.

Balford Henry