Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has lauded local producer of coffee “teabags’” Mountain Bliss Farm and Tours, describing the company’s product as the type of innovation that can further diversify the tourism and export markets.
The Minister, who was in the Content Gap area of rural St. Andrew, recently, where the company operates, says the product is “quality made”.
“It is the first time that I am seeing coffee in teabags, and I bought a sachet. I don’t need anybody to mix my coffee, I can now just draw my teabag in my hot water, and in seconds, I have a good Blue Mountain Coffee,” the Minister tells JIS News, after purchasing the product.
Underscoring that the product is of the highest “quality and grade”, Mr. Bartlett says he is proud of what Mountain Bliss has done, because “it is this kind of innovation that is going to help to drive value-added within our tourism space, and this can be exported to countries all around the world”.
The Minister adds that this must be encouraged, as more small businesses need to convert raw material to primary, secondary and tertiary products.
For his part, Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, who was also on tour of the community, says the move by the farmers is “excellent”.
“We want to see more of the small farmers developing their own coffee brand,” he says.
“Blue Mountain Coffee is a niche product, and the more you can build a brand and experience around it, it is the better it will do,” the State Minister tells JIS News.
He points out that the Ministry has been encouraging innovations, through the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA), working with small farmers in the area of branding and product development.
“We are going to continue that, and I am very happy to see this new brand on the market. Innovation comes from excellence, and when you see products like these, farmers do better, the product will do better, and the country will do better,” he says.
Co-owner of the business, Inez Wilson, says the coffee farm has been in operation for more than10 years, and the coffee sachet (teabag) segment started just over one month ago, and it “is going nicely, and working”.
Miss Wilson tells JIS News that there are many aspects in farming where persons can make a living, and “once you start in agriculture, you will like it”.
Another co-owner, Vinessa Green, says the product has “taken off” and that it was developed as another means of ensuring that farmers make more money from their produce.
Mountain Bliss Farm and Tours also provides visitors the opportunity to learn about Jamaica’s coffee history, how to care for the plants, and those who created the world-renowned Jamaica Blue Mountain Peak Coffee.
After the coffee experience, the visitors also engage in walk-throughs, meet and share with members of the community, and participate in a six-mile hike.
The company is also engaged in the cultivation of flowers and vegetables, and offers lodging on a limited scale.