JIS News

The Coffee Industry Board (CIB) is reporting that it has registered the Jamaica Blue Mountain and Jamaica High Mountain logos and trademarks in more than 20 countries worldwide.
This is part of the CIB’s strategy to protect the brand on the local and international markets.
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ recently, Director General of the CIB, Christopher Gentles noted that the trademarks would become the standard for all coffee produced and sold by licensed roasters and dealers in Jamaican coffee. He said that millions of dollars have been spent so far by both the CIB and its stakeholders as a part of this process.
In addition, as part of the recently completed strategic review, the CIB is renewing its licensing regime to ensure that all roasters and traders of Jamaican coffee satisfy the requirements of the CIB, which is the entity responsible for the protection and trade of Jamaican coffee.
As part of the process, the CIB’s operational standards have been enhanced through the adaptation of improved processes and procedures from the farm to processing and with the implementation of the ISO 9001 standards, Mr. Gentles said. The Board has also implemented integrated pest management techniques and is working with processors and those involved with the transportation of the coffee beans, to eliminate any possibility of contamination. Keeping the coffee free from any chemical residue is important, he said, as Japan, to which 80 to 90 per cent of the locally produced coffee is exported, has very strict food safety standards.
Research and Environmental Manager at the CIB, Timon Waugh explained that the matter of pesticide residues is of primary concern, particularly since food safety is a topical issue in both the Japanese and European markets.
“Since 2006, they (the Japanese) have introduced the positive list.any food that is entering Japan is randomly tested and if found, is returned to the country of origin,” he said.
As part of its new quality control thrust, in February, the CIB trained a number of coffee bean selectors in what Mr. Gentles noted, was one of many initiatives to address a decline in the quality of coffee beans being delivered for processing. Between 2001 and 2007, he said, there was a 26 per cent drop in the production levels and quality of beans being delivered for processing. A testing facility has also been set up at the University of the West Indies.
Jamaica Blue Mountain and Jamaica High Mountain coffee brands are among the most expensive in the world, selling at base rates of US$11.50 per pound and US$7.50, respectively and earning between US$28 million and US$50 million a year. It is also one of the most expensive to produce, at average rates of about US$7.00 per pound for the Jamaica Blue Mountain. Jamaican coffee is in high demand, yet at its highest levels in the 2003/04 crop season, only 523,000 boxes of Blue Mountain and 90 boxes of High Mountain coffee were produced.
The Director General explained that it has been difficult to expand production in recent times, due to the effects of natural disasters such as Hurricanes Ivan and Dean, which devastated the industry.
While the aim of the Board is to increase productivity, this must be done without negative impact on the price and the environment. It is important that the processing of coffee is not directly impacting the environment, particularly that of the Blue Mountains, from which the premium priced coffee gets its name, Mr. Gentles said.
To lessen the possible impact on the Blue Mountains, the Board is insistent that production in that geographical region goes up, without any increase in the acreage. This will be achieved through improved husbandry and the replacement of trees lost to Hurricanes Ivan and Dean. There are also plans to revive the low land coffee production, Mr. Gentles explained.
In addition to partnerships with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Mr. Gentles pointed out that improved plant husbandry, including the introduction of new application techniques for fertilizers and other nutrients as well as improved plant care methods, would not only reduce fertilizer use, but also lessen waste and lower run-off and leaching. An applicator introduced by the CIB is expected to slash fertilizer use by more than a half.
“Currently farmers fertilize their fields with six to eight bags of fertilizer per acre, two times a year. Using the applicator, they can reduce this to five bags per acre once a year,” Mr. Gentles said, noting that this reduction would amount to substantial savings given the current price of fertilizer.
All processing plants are licenced by NEPA, and the agency, together with the CIB, monitors the discharge of waste from the plants to ensure they fall within agreed guidelines.
Based on reports, there are between 550 and 580 plants per acre on average, however, the CIB’s Director General is advocating a minimum of 872 plants per acre. He explained that some farmers could get up to 1,000 or more plants per acre.
The replanting of coffee seedlings now, would mean increased production within the next 3

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