Brewing prosperity: Jamaican coffee industry calls for local investors
THE Jamaican coffee industry is calling on local investors to seize the opportunity for diversification and growth. Minister of Investment Senator Aubyn Hill emphasised the need for increased support for home-grown coffee creators and producers during the launch of the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival at Devon House in St Andrew.
“When I look at the change in our sales in the last three years from about US$16 million to US$24.4 million in 2023, it tells me that there is a great investment opportunity here,” Hill highlighted against the backdrop of the industry’s positive trajectory in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.
While acknowledging the inevitability of foreign investments, Hill urged local investors to recognise the vast potential within Jamaica’s borders, emphasising that the necessary funds are readily available. His call to action encouraged investors to focus their attention on financing coffee farms, developing infrastructure, enhancing road networks, and tapping into international export markets.
“For seven years, the Andrew Holness administration has not gone to the market. We have not gone to borrow money in the Jamaican market; therefore, the money is out there,” asserted Hill, offering a premise for the ample investment potential within the local landscape.
Speaking to the investors who are willing, Hill suggested looking inward as a great place to finance the farms, infrastructure, road infrastructure, and export market. In highlighting the significance of coffee and rum as highly consumed Jamaican beverages, he underscored the investment prospects within the coffee industry and its by-products.
The Government’s proactive initiative, the Crop Restoration and Establishment Programme (CREP), is poised to market the coffee industry aggressively to attract investors. Agriculture Minister Floyd Green shared valuable insights into CREP’s multifaceted objectives, presenting a comprehensive five-year plan. This plan encompasses strategic elements such as replanting, rejuvenating nurseries, and addressing pressing challenges faced by coffee farmers, including the ageing of crops and the escalating costs of inputs.
“We are now in the process of going to the Ministry of Finance to indicate to them that this is the programme; this is five years. Ultimately, we are looking for over a billion dollars over the period,” Green told the Sunday Finance in an interview.
Underscoring the importance of private sector involvement, Green emphasised that the success of CREP depends on a collaborative effort, which includes coffee exporters recognising their pivotal role in supporting local farmers and building a sustainable future for the industry.
“CREP can’t work without the private sector playing a fundamental part,” he said. “And those who export our coffee have to appreciate that without the farmers, they can’t export.”