Jamaica is looking to identify new consumer markets in China, United States, Canada, Europe, and South Korea, as it seeks to stimulate demand for its coffee, which is rated among the world’s finest.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, addresses a coffee farmers’ forum in Balcarres, Portland on Wednesday, July 21. The forum was held to address the concerns of the coffee farmers in the communities of the Buff Bay Valley in Portland.
The move comes as the world recession has reduced demand in the traditional Japanese market by about 50 per cent, leaving dealers with an excess of stock. Japan, over the last 20 years, has bought 85 per cent of Jamaican Blue Mountain and High Mountain Coffee.
“We have been looking in other countries throughout the world, where Blue Mountain Coffee is known, where Blue Mountain coffee is demanded, where we can try and sell some of that coffee,” said Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton.
The Minister, who was addressing a coffee farmers’ forum in Portland on Wednesday (July 21), informed that the Government had successfully negotiated with a Chinese entity for the supply of 70 tonnes of coffee over a 12-month period.
“That’s a new market that we want to develop so that we don’t have to depend on one market. We want to diversify to a number of markets where we can have a range of possibilities of selling the coffee,” he stated.
Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, addressing coffee farmers in Portland on Wednesday (July 21). Occasion was a coffee farmers’ forum held at the Balcarres Apostolic Church, Balcarres, Portland, to discuss the concerns of the farmers in that area.
He called on the farmers to adopt proper growing practices and develop a standard that would ensure consistent high quality crop to guarantee the best returns. He also urged the marketing companies to remain focused and work with the Government to “cement and build” new markets.
Among the issues raised by the farmers, were the low price for coffee, high cost of fertilisers and other chemicals, and late payment by the marketing companies.
Director General of the Coffee Industry Board (CIB), Christopher Gentles, encouraged them to “remain steadfast”, noting that the Government and the CIB were “doing everything” to address their concerns.
Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, in the meantime, told the farmers that he is “working assiduously” to have roads in the Buff Bay Valley repaired “at the earliest possible time”.
Mr. Vaz, who is Member of Parliament for Western Portland, said that some of the work would begin as early as next month.