In 1953, the first three barrels of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee were shipped to Japan, and so began a long relationship which led to nearly 100 percent, or approximately 400,000 boxes, of Jamaica’s premium coffee being exported to Japan, annually.
In 2004, Jamaican coffee farms took a beating from Hurricane Ivan, causing a significant decrease in production. This resulted in exports to the Japanese market dipping to approximately 250,000 boxes. Jamaican coffee farmers worked assiduously to bring back the coffee crop and, by 2006/2007, production started to increase and reached approximately 350,000 boxes, of which Japan bought 85 percent.
Then the world recession hit, and the Japanese responded by reducing their purchases of Blue Mountain Coffee by 50 percent.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jamaica’s Mavis Bank Coffee Factory Limited, Senator Norman Grant (second left), presents a package containing the company’s Jablum brand to Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Seth George Ramocan (second right), following a meeting at the Jamaican Consulate General in Toronto, recently. Looking on are Jampro’s North American Manager, Robert Kerr (right) and the Canadian distributor for Jablum, Hal Campbell (left).
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mavis Bank Coffee Coffee Factory, Senator Norman Grant, was in Canada recently to seek new markets for the company’s Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee.
“We are looking at an aggressive strategy to diversify the market. Our move now is to target Canada, and we would like to introduce green beans into the Canadian market,” Senator Grant told Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, George Ramocan, during a meeting at the Jamaican Consulate General.
Senator Grant explained that in 2009, Mavis Bank was the largest coffee operation in Jamaica, getting its coffee from approximately 6,000 farmers from 90 districts in the Blue Mountain region. The company also has the largest Blue Mountain value-added operation through its Jablum brand.
Mavis Bank exported 68 per cent of its output to Japan, it exported another 20 per cent to the United States, and the rest went to Europe and other markets.
“Over the next five years, we expect to be selling in the region of US$2.5 million in the Canadian market, which will represent about 15 per cent of our sales,” the Senator said.
He indicated that, so far, discussions have been very successful with Canadian roasters and coffee houses and are very advanced with one particular coffee house.
“We will have the green beans here, so that they can be purchased on a just-in-time basis. We will feed the Canadian market from the stocks in our warehouse in the United States. This will give a lot of flexibility to the markets in Canada,” the CEO explained.
Senator Grant says he is excited about the prospects of introducing more Canadians to Blue Mountain Coffee.
Also attending the meeting were Jampro’s Regional Manager for North America, Robert Kerr, and Canadian distributor for Jablum Coffee, Hal Campbell.