Managing Director & CEO of Mavis Bank Coffee Factory, Norman Grant say, MBCF has been selected to anchor a $43 million dollar project to introduce best farming practices in coffee production in the parishes of St. Andrew and St. Thomas.
Financing is being provided jointly by the Government of Jamaica/World Bank through the Development Bank of Jamaica managed Jamaica Business Fund (JBF) and Mavis Bank Coffee Factory Limited, the latter investing some $13 million, geared at facilitating some 14 small to medium size coffee farms/farmers to upgrade their coffee farms through plant nutrition, pest management, soil management, shade regulation, weed control and plant training, drip irrigation and utilizing a satellite farming mechanism and intercropping with red peas. A coffee best practice instruction manual will also be produced by Mavis Bank Coffee Factory as a guide to the farmers.
Mavis Bank CEO, Norman Grant said that the project which began in September last year was progressing satisfactorily and meeting its aim to train approximately 51-100 satellite farms in the geographic location of each selected farm in good coffee culture practices.
“The project will provide precise nutrition to the beneficiary farms through soil testing, applying soluble fertilizer to the coffee plants (fertigation), Coffee Leaf Rust management, Berry Borer eradication, post-harvest field sanitation, terracing and other soil protection methods, chemical weed control and pruning of the coffee trees among others,” Grant explained.
To date, he said introductory training meetings were done with the beneficiary farmers including three class room training sessions; two infield training sessions on the mentioned topics as well as instruction in agro-business and money management.
Grant added that site visits were done on all 14 farms to do farm inspection and site mapping for fertigation system; all concrete basements for the fertigation systems were completed; all the water storage and fertigation tanks were delivered; approximately 41.5 acres of piping was done throughout 14 coffee farms; terracing/individual basins was done on all farms; and 359 bags of granular fertilizer were delivered to the beneficiary farmers.
He noted that there remained outstanding delivery of granular fertilizer to farmers who could not benefit from the fertigation system, the disbursement and planting of red peas to fix nitrogen in the soil, therefore reducing the need for fertilizer; additional farm inspections; commissioning of the fertigation system and one in-field training session.
Grant says “the project will help the coffee farmers increase their productivity from 30 boxes per acre to approximately 100 boxes per acres, hence increasing income for the farmers”.
Mr. Ronald Dubrisingh, Fund Manager of the JBF said that “the JBF is very pleased to be associated with Mavis Bank Coffee Factory on this significant project. As Jamaica seeks to expand the export of Blue Mountain coffee into new markets it is important that coffee farmers increase productivity to improve both their incomes and the competitiveness of the brand. The Mavis Bank Coffee Factory project is ensuring that the best agronomic practices are maintained and is introducing several innovations to the sector, it is poised to be a game changer for the industry.”
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