Chairman – Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association
On the occasion of the 6th Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Day
To be Celebrated on January 9, 2024
On behalf of the membership of the Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association (JCEA), and our 5,000 coffee farmers, I wish all a Happy Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Day, as we celebrate the 6th observation in collaboration with the Association of Japanese Importers of Jamaican Coffee (AJIJC), the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (Jampro) and our local and global stakeholders, including our overseas missions.
This year we celebrate under the theme: “Brewed Perfection”.
The year’s celebration takes particular significance considering a number of milestones that will be celebrated by our trading partners, the JCEA membership and industry stakeholders. These include the achievement of the 100th anniversary of the Mavis Bank Coffee Factory Limited (MBCF), having been established in 1923, as well as the 70th anniversary of the first three barrels of coffee exported from Jamaica to Japan by Keble Munn of MBCF in March of 1953.
Japan has grown to be Jamaica’s largest importer of coffee, importing well over 70% of our production on an annual basis. With coffee being our first ‘ambassador’ to Japan, this year Jamaica and Japan will celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between both countries, led by our ambassador in Tokyo, HE, Shorna-Kay Richards. I take the opportunity therefore, on behalf of the Association, to congratulate the Mavis Bank Coffee Factory Limited for this noted achievement and to celebrate with the people of both Japan and Jamaica and its stakeholders for this significant landmark.
We particularly celebrate with our 5,000 coffee farmers, in light of the growth of production of the Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee, moving from 240,000 boxes in 2021/22 to 285,000 boxes in 2022/23, increasing by over 17%. JACRA had projected an amount of 300,000 boxes for the 2023/24 crop, but due to adverse rainy weather conditions during the last two months, which was during the peak of the crop, it is estimated that losses incurred by the industry at the farm gate amounted to a minimum of 50,000 boxes at a farm gate value of $480 million of crop loss.
This has been compounded by the loss of trees resulting in the future loss of cherry berries, as well as the high cost of transportation and other production costs directly related to the poor infrastructure (roads) in the Jamaica Blue Mountain region in the parishes of Portland, St. Thomas, and St. Andrew. On this note, the JCEA calls on the government and the relevant agencies to develop a programme for the development and maintenance of the road infrastructure in the Jamaica Blue Mountain region, noting its potential to earn in excess of one hundred million US dollars in foreign exchange annually.
We therefore use this Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Day to ask the Agriculture Ministry, as a matter of priority, to immediately implement the Crop Restoration and Establishment Programme (CREP) valuing a billion dollars over five years in order to release seedlings, fertilizers, chemicals, and other inputs to Jamaican coffee farmers as a part of the programme to rebuild/resuscitate the coffee industry.
Our Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Day activities include:
Jamaica Observer Supplement
JCEA Chairman’s Interview – Power 106 – Farm Talk
Coffee Tasting and Presentation – Café Blue – Constant Spring
Launch of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival and Exhibitions at Devon House
Discounts and tastings at Jablum Coffee House – 2 Oxford Road
Tasting of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee at the Norman Manley and Donald Sangster International Airports by JACRA, Jamaica Standard Products, and JABLUM
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Day celebration – Consular General – Miami
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Day celebration – Embassy of Jamaica – Tokyo, Japan
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Day celebration – Beijing, China
Happy Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Day!
Norman W. Grant, OD, JP,
Chairman – Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association (JCEA)
January 5, 2024