Project launched to boost coffee export into Europe
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith (right), exchanges greetings with Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Carib-Export), Deodat Maharaj. (Photo: Mark Bell)

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Jamaican coffee sector is set to receive support through a joint project between the Government and the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Carib-Export) to boost export into the European market.

The initiative aims to bolster the productivity and export competitiveness of local coffee within the European Union (EU).

Speaking at the launch on Thursday, January 27 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in downtown Kingston, portfolio minister, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, welcomed the initiative, noting that it will deliver results to the country's coffee producers.

Labelling the Blue Mountain Coffee as “one of Jamaica's signature value-added agricultural products” with approximately 80 per cent of production generated by small farmers, Johnson Smith said “Europe, with its large consumer base and approximately 450 million people, poses strong prospects as a new and important coffee export market for Jamaica.”

“The data indicates that Europe accounts for 33 per cent of global coffee consumption in 2021, [which is] approximately 3.244 million tons of coffee in that market,” she pointed out.

Johnson Smith informed that Carib-Export has proposed a two-phase approach to undertaking the project, the first of which will focus on an analysis of the EU coffee market, including related market entry requirements, as well as an evaluation of the market penetration strategies of the other major coffee exporters to the EU.

The second phase will focus on developing a targeted marketing strategy for the EU coffee market, she said.

Chris Daugherty, Managing Director of Windward Commodities, which is undertaking phase one of the partnership,  said that emphasis will be placed on a “highly inclusive process known as the product development process” with the relevant stakeholders.

 “In this specific case, and for this stage one, the first thing we're going to do is macro-scoping. COVID-19 has disrupted all commodity supply chains. Coffee prices, on a world basis, are at a 10-year high, while production of Blue Mountain Coffee is at a 10 to a 15-year low. So, matching those two macro issues is going to be a key part of this study [and] looking at global trends, logistics and supply chains into the EU,” he indicated.

“We will then look at supply-side analysis, the competitive contracts, how the other Latin American coffee producers have effectively penetrated the EU market as case studies and for comparison, and then find a specific Jamaican approach to the coffee sector, in order to maximise value and support smallholders and producers in Jamaica,” he detailed.

The company will engage with local stakeholders, with the intention of producing the final proposal of recommendations by the end of June this year.

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