JIS News

To provide its own electricity, the Blue Mountain Coffee Co-operative is constructing a bio-digester plant at the Moy Hall coffee factory in Cedar Valley, St. Thomas.
The project, which will be completed in two phases, is being funded by the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), at a cost of approximately $5.4 million. The Scientific Research Council (SRC) is assisting with the development and implementation of the bio-digester system, which will be able to produce natural gas for energy.
Manager of the Co-operative, O’Neil Blake told JIS News that the project was being implemented to ensure that the waste material generated from the coffee pulp was utilized as energy source to run the factory.”We want to lead the industry as it relates to using renewable energy, minimizing waste and being environmental friendly,” Mr. Blake said.
He noted that the first phase, which started in October, should be completed in February or March of 2005. “Everything should be completed before the end of 2005,” Mr. Blake added.
Another aspect of the project is the production of charcoal using the coffee husk. At the moment, Mr. Blake said the product was collected by poultry farmers for chicken houses. He noted that on completion of the bio-digester project, all the husk would be needed to produce charcoal.
Mr. Blake said the Co-operative was conducting a study to determine the quantity that would be needed by persons operating in the jerk industry.
“We want to target that segment of the market and we’re confident that we would be able to dispose of the quantity that will be generated each year,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Blake has expressed concern about the condition of farm roads in several farming communities. He said roads from Trinityville to Cedar Valley, Bethel to Hagley Gap, Hagley Gap to Penlyne Castle, Richmond Hill to Richmond Gap, and Trinityville to Mount Verno were in need of repair.
He pointed out that since the passage of Hurricane Ivan in September, the Co-operative has engaged the services of eight persons who were capable of using power saws to help the farmers to clear their field of fallen trees. “This exercise has been on-going since September 20 and is continuing,” he added.
Additionally, he said the Co-operative, in collaboration with the Coffee Industry Board (CIB) Regulatory Division had arranged a number of field days, especially in the Penlyne Castle district, to guide the farmers about the steps they should take in rehabilitating their farms.
“We have training workshops every week and we have been having frequent meetings with them to provide the level of advice and guidance that we think is necessary at this time,” Mr. Blake said.
He pointed out that the Co-operative was currently paying farmers $1,500 per box of coffee, compared to a previously paid $1,000, in order to ensure that they had more cash to help them with their recovery efforts.

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