Coffee Farmers Looking to Boost Demand

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, takes a bite from strawberry cultivated by farmers from East Rural St. Andrew, given to them by Member of Parliament for the Area, the Most Hon. Juliet Holness, at the launch of the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on January 23. Mrs. Holness displays the 2017 Report on The Development of the Berry Industry in Jamaica, which was presented to her by Minister Bartlett.

Story Highlights

  • Member of Parliament for East Rural St. Andrew, the Most Hon. Juliet Holness, says coffee farmers in the area are looking at various options to expand the industry.
  • “We would like to expand the coffee industry so that the pharmaceutical industry, the beauty and cosmetic sector and gastronomy will look to the hills of East Rural St. Andrew as the source of sustenance,” she said.
  • Mrs. Holness was speaking at the press launch of the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on January 23.

Member of Parliament for East Rural St. Andrew, the Most Hon. Juliet Holness, says coffee farmers in the area are looking at various options to expand the industry.

She noted that there is understanding among the farmers that “beans alone will not cut it and they have to explore various options for the product”.

“We would like to expand the coffee industry so that the pharmaceutical industry, the beauty and cosmetic sector and gastronomy will look to the hills of East Rural St. Andrew as the source of sustenance,” she said.

“We’re (also) expanding knowledge around the use of intellectual property safeguards, so that our associated brand and its value are not lost in the process,” she added.

Mrs. Holness was speaking at the press launch of the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on January 23.

The three-day event, from March 23 to 25, will be held at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) training ground in Newcastle.

Mrs. Holness noted that the farmers of East Rural St. Andrew, where a large amount of coffee is cultivated, are looking forward to the event.

“The farmers are serious about the reputation of the Jamaican coffee, the taste of our coffee and the sustainability of our coffee for our people,” she added.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association (JCEA), Norman Grant, said his organisation views the festival as very timely and as a perfect fit for the expansion of the industry.

He said statistics from the Coffee Industry Board (CIB) indicate that the local industry was estimated to value between US$50 million and US$60 million in 2017.

He commended the Ministry of Tourism, as well as the Linkages Network, for “taking on this project so we can share this superb coffee story that began in (Jamaica) in 1728”.

“It will be our task (JCEA) to pursue market development and diversification, product expansion and proliferation, as well as brand development and positioning, to proudly take the world’s best coffee, the Jamaica Blue Mountain… (globally),” he said.

During the coffee festival launch, Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, presented Mrs. Holness with a 2017 Report on The Development of the Berry Industry in Jamaica.

Mrs. Holness, in turn, presented the Tourism Minister with a box of strawberries from farmers in her constituency.

The coffee festival is expected to bring together local and international coffee connoisseurs, coffee suppliers, foodies and other interested parties.

The main target markets are local and regional, with emphasis on the Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados. At the international level, emphasis will be placed on the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Canada.

Among the festivals features are business development workshops for farmers and a culinary trail.

Other stakeholders in the staging of the event include the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority. (RADA).

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