The following is an open letter to the Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna:
I write in support of your recently published article in the Jamaica Observer, 'Good things come to those who get up and get them', in which you passionately charged that action be taken to better leverage Brand Jamaica.
As you rightly explained, there is much opportunity beyond sports, music, and tourism, specifically in the manufacturing sector. I would argue that the market is ripe for more Jamaican food products. Conditions are optimal for us to further graduate our economy from exporting raw materials to providing value-added finished products for the global market.
It is with this in mind, that my family and I formed Mikah Blue Limited, a Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA)-certified company marketing and selling Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee.
Supplied by our family farm, we launched Mikah Blue in January 2021. As testament to the strength of Brand Jamaica, in our four months of operation, we have already secured wholesale and retail clients in Canada, China, Hong Kong, Denmark, USA, the Republic of Ireland, and within the United Kingdom. At this time we are focused primarily on selling green beans directly to coffee roasters in our source markets, but to your point, the opportunities to bring finish products to market are undeniable.
Demand has prompted us to accelerate plans to introduce Mikah Blue coffee pour over in June 2021, with an energy drink and coffee bar also in train.
Mikah Blue is a vehicle to source new markets for our family farm that has been in operation since the 1990s. We are very familiar with the highs and lows of trading commodities in their basic form, particularly the narrow profit margins. With globalisation and technology, barriers to entry for finished products continue to fall. The opportunities are there; Mikah Blue is rising to the challenge.
There is a growing trend among coffee roasters and consumers wanting to connect directly with the producers to ensure that the coffee beans are ethically sourced. Our family farm and vertical integration provide that assurance. The visibility of our consumer products on most digital platforms will serve to introduce Jamaican beans to a new, younger demographic, supporting the future viability of the Blue Mountain brand.
Brand Jamaica has strong currency in the global marketplace and we are proud ambassadors. I believe it is the responsibility of producers, like Mikah Blue, to invest in understanding their markets and market trends and respond quickly to demand for finished products.
In partnership with the Government, let us raise our earning potential by participating in more lucrative product categories.
Ms Hanna, your words have not fallen on deaf ears. Thank you for challenging us and we look forward to your continued advocacy.
Director, Mikah Blue UK limited
Midlands Regional Director, Jamaicans Inspired (UK)