The Coffee Industry Board (CIB) is seeking private sector funding for the development of a 1,000-acre coffee farm as part of efforts to boost production of the crop.
Board Chairman, Howard Mitchell, said that the CIB has already written proposals for financing for the venture, which will be designed in 200-acre modules. “The total development cost for this project is at least $7.7 million. This project is designed to bring the latest in technology and a high level of management discipline to effect an increase in coffee production per acre in the Jamaica High Mountain region,” he informed.
Mr. Mitchell was speaking at the official launch of the national registration programme for non-Blue Mountain coffee farmers, held on June 30 at the Montego Bay Civic Centre in St. James.
The registration programme, he said, is important in securing the future of the industry, which is a key employer and foreign exchange earner.
“Coffee is the second most important agricultural crop and the most efficient earner of net foreign exchange earnings. Last year, the industry earned more than US$40 million, and it provides employment for over 100,000 people. Coffee can provide employment and a decent standard of living for twice that many people and, for that to happen, important changes have to be made,” he stated.
Director General of the Coffee Industry Board (CIB), Christopher Gentles, addresses the launch of the CIB’s national registration programme for non-Blue Mountain farmers held on June 30 at the Montego Bay Civic Centre in St. James.
In his address to the farmers, Director General of the CIB, Christopher Gentles, informed that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has granted some US$100,000 to provide inputs for farmers, who suffered losses as a result to Tropical Storm Gustav last August.
He urged farmers to register with the CIB in order to benefit from the assistance.
“We have observed that there are some farmers, who have gone beyond the call of duty to ensure the growth and expansion of the farms. Based on recommendations, the CIB has selected a few of these farmers for the receipt of fertiliser and seedlings to further increase their productivity,” Mr. Gentles said, noting that the CIB is in the process of purchasing some 200 ferdin pumps for the effective distribution of fertiliser on farms.
Some 40 farmers from Western Jamaica and parishes as far away as Manchester and St. Ann, were successfully registered at the launch.
Approximately 7,500 Blue Mountain farmers have already been registered under the Blue Mountain segment of the programme.