Norman Grant, chairman of the Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association (JCEA), has added his voice and that of the country’s 5,000 coffee farmers and several thousand members of the coffee farm families in Jamaica who make up the over 12 ½ million coffee farmers globally, in the celebration of International Coffee Day, observed today (October 1).
“Making the daily journey from our coffee field, factory and roaster to the breakfast mugs of households all over the world, coffee beans have been scattered all over the world for more than 600 years and their preparation for consumption is a great example of metamorphosis,” Grant observed.
“As one of the first coffees in the world to be designated as a speciality coffee, Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee has a rich legacy, pleasing the palates of sophisticated coffee consumers across the world. As we see increasing global demand for high-quality speciality coffee, we are placing our focus as an industry on continually improving our productivity and quality, and expanding our Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee presence in international markets,” Grant added.
He referenced a global market study funded by Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), managed by Jamaica Promotions (JAMPRO) and supported by both the JCEA and the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA).
The market study is aimed at developing strategies to expand the Blue Mountain and High Mountain coffee brands in the speciality food segment in the global marketplace.
The JCEA is also working with JACRA to get support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and by extension, the government, to boost the coffee industry.
This will be in the form of farmer support for a coffee planting and redevelopment programme valued at some J$1 billion, over a five-year period. This is aimed at increasing Jamaica’s current level of production from 270,000 boxes to 450,000 boxes over the period and increase productivity from 30 boxes per acre to 60 boxes per acre, Grant explained.
“This effort should increase annual revenues from the Jamaican coffee industry from our weighted average of US$25 million over the last 10 years to US$50 million in the next 5 years and US$100 in 10 years. This will significantly impact our 5,000 farmers and several thousand members of the coffee farm families that benefit from the Blue Mountain and High Mountain coffee industry,” noted the JCEA chairman.
Pointing to Japan, Jamaica’s largest export market, Grant stated that the JCEA and Jamaica’s Embassy in Tokyo, under the leadership of Ambassador Shorna-Kay Richards, are excited by the partnership with the Association of Japanese Importers of Jamaican Coffee (AJIJC) for their continued strong support as the largest buyer of Jamaica coffee in Japan, with exports of over US$12 million for 2021 representing 70 per cent of the country’s exports; with 20 per cent to the USA and 10 per cent to Europe, China and the rest of the world.
Grant observed that Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee production grew by over 15 per cent over 2020 to record just over 17,000 bags in 2021.
”The JCEA is excited about the opportunities that this presents, and will be working with the Ministry of Agriculture, JACRA, our coffee farmers and JAMPRO to execute the various initiatives to drive the sustainable growth and development of the Jamaica coffee industry. So along with the Jamaica coffee industry and our farmers, we join the global coffee community in another celebration of International Coffee Day 2022” Grant says.