Gov't to help improve coffee industry

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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INDUSTRY, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Audley Shaw says the Government will be taking a multi-pronged approach to improve the coffee industry.

This includes market diversification and the increased productivity and production of Blue Mountain, High Mountain and Lowland coffee.

Addressing the launch of the second annual Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival, at Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston yesterday, the minister said the Government is committed to supporting a vibrant industry, both for export and to supply the domestic market.

The approaches to be taken are expected to work in tandem with the long-term solutions the Government has for placing the industry in a better position.

Among the solutions are the reduction of infringements on the Jamaica Blue Mountain and Jamaica High Mountain coffee trademarks on the international scene, as well as locally, through the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA).

Shaw also wants to see an increase in the number of Jamaican coffee varieties, such as High Mountain and Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee, which can be blended together instead of blending imported coffee with Blue Mountain coffee.

“We have to work with our small farmers to build their productivity per acre, so that it's not just a question of the price you get but where the price is lower than expectation, it is more than mitigated by one's output per acre,” he said.

The minister acknowledged the timeliness and importance of the coffee festival as useful for the continued expansion of the industry.

“I urge the Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association to pursue market development and diversification, product expansion and proliferation, as well as brand development and positioning to take the world's best coffee, the Blue Mountain Coffee, globally,” he said.

Meanwhile, in her remarks, Member of Parliament for St Andrew East Rural Juliet Holness, said the coffee festival is an “amazing opportunity to celebrate coffee and Jamaica”.

She said for her constituency the festival is important, because it provides an opportunity for farmers to earn significant sums of money and to network.

For his part, acting director general of JACRA, Gusland McCook said events such as the coffee festival provide an avenue to create the type of awareness that will attract investors.

McCook indicated that JACRA will assist with strengthening the capacity of individuals involved in the hospitality trade in areas such as roasting coffee beans, brewing, and the development of sensory skills to empower them to recognise and serve “a good cup of coffee”.

To be held from March 1 to 3 in Newcastle, St Andrew, the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival will feature coffee and coffee-related products, food stalls, tastings, and demonstrations.

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