Calls made for coffee farmers to get registered


Calls made for coffee farmers to get registered

Senior staff reporter

Monday, September 16, 2019

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NORMAN Grant, president of the Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association (JCEA), is pushing for all coffee farmers to be registered with the association.

According to Grant, who up to recently was the president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), he is concerned that only 4,167 of the known 4,578 coffee farmers in Jamaica are registered with JCEA, which means that there are at least 400 unregistered coffee farmers.

He said his association recently held discussions with the acting director general of Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA), Gusland McCook, on allowing unregistered farmers to continue selling coffee to the processors on condition that the processors assist in facilitating the registration of these farmers after the July 31 deadline.

“The JCEA's aim is to have an ongoing registration programme for both existing and new coffee farmers, and, as we approach continuous registration, the coffee sector should have full compliance by the end of crop year 2019-20,” he stated.

He noted that the benefits of being registered include: Better control over praedial larceny; development of an insurance programme for coffee farmers; development and expansion of the coffee industry through increased production and productivity; and assistance in planning and administrating the farmers' support programmes, including marketing.

Grant said the JCEA is appealing to the more than 5,000 coffee suppliers in the Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM) and non-Blue Mountain areas to ensure that their farms are registered and, although the registration deadline has passed, they are being encouraged to contact JACRA or any of the member companies of the Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association for assistance.

Grant is currently in Japan leading the JCEA delegation to the Specialty Coffee Association of Japan (SCAJ) Exhibition, which ended on Saturday. The exhibition showcased Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee on the global space, as part of a strategy to reposition the Jamaican brand.

“We will also meet with members of the All Japan Association of Importers of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, to discuss orders and prices for the 2019-2020 crop year and look on a five-year marketing plan for the JBM coffee in the Japanese market,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

Production of Jamaica Blue Mountain and Jamaica High Mountain coffee for crop year 2018-19 was 189,531 boxes and 13,974.75 boxes, respectively. This was 10,985.60 boxes more than the 178,500 boxes of Jamaica Blue Mountain cherry berry and 14,013 less than the 28,000 boxes for the prior 2017-18 crop, which resulted from a 50 per cent decrease in Jamaica High Mountain and an overall increase of six per cent for the Jamaica Blue Mountain brands.

However, the total overall production of coffee in Jamaica for the 2018-19 crop was 203,505.75, which was approximately 1.5 per cent less than the 206,533.15 for crop 2017-18. This resulted from a 1.5 per cent decline in production in 2018/19.

The estimated earnings from the total production is US$12.5 million, which is almost 50 per cent less than the US$28 million the industry generated at higher prices that were available three to four years ago, he explained.

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