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KINGSTON — Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon Dr. Christopher Tufton, has called on the private sector to support the World Bank/Inter-American Bank-funded parametric insurance scheme.

Dr. Tufton, who was speaking at the launch of Jamaica Blue Mountain (Jablum) decaffeinated coffee, produced by Mavis Bank Coffee Factory, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel Tuesday April 12, explained that the scheme protects farmers, by providing a pay-out based on pre-determined conditions.

“Let us partner together to ensure that that insurance programme goes forward…the farmers welfare will be your welfare,” he stated. A prototype of the scheme is being tested in the coffee industry.

Dr. Tufton was outlining measures being taken by the government, to safeguard the industry, and speaking to the kinks that would have to be ironed out with the restructuring plans that are being rolled out for the industry.

“Government is going to have a difficulty after the restructuring takes place, being the option of last resort,” he noted, pointing to crop insurance as one of the issues that would play a critical role.

“Beyond that, we have to start seriously looking at engaging farmers in serious contractual relationships that extend beyond one crop cycle, so that the farmer starts thinking of himself, or herself, as part of the owner of this value chain process,” the Minister said.

He stated that the farmer must be seen as a business partner.                                     

“Those who take that approach in the post-restructuring era, are going to be the best companies from a number of perspectives…they are going to have the goods, the loyalty and commitment of the farmers, and they will emerge as the top brands,” he stated.

The Jablum decaffeinated coffee is a joint effort between United States-based agent, Blue Mountain Coffee Inc, and Swiss Water Company, a Canadian decaffeinated coffee plant.
                                                         

By ALPHEA SAUNDERS, JIS Reporter