Drive to stimulate future growth of the coffee sector

Drive to stimulate future growth of the coffee sector

Monday, December 09, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw says the government is embarking upon a drive to increase tree densities on coffee plantations from the current average of between 600 to 650 plants per acre to 800 plants per acre.

This, the minister noted, is to be done over time and is part of initiatives being undertaken to stimulate future growth of the coffee sector.

Shaw was addressing the inaugural awards banquet of the Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association (JCEA) at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on December 7.

Shaw said other initiatives to boost growth of the sector include the provision of fertiliser assistance, supplies, and training to coffee farmers, which is being facilitated by the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA) under the Productivity Incentive Programme.

“To date, approximately 27,000 bags of 25lb fertiliser have been distributed to registered farmers in the Jamaica Blue Mountain and Jamaica High Mountain regions. We do need to talk more about this because we have additional fertiliser available,” Shaw said.

Meanwhile, the minister said a grant of US$100million is being sought from the Chinese government to build out the road access infrastructure in the Blue Mountain region.

Shaw said this will assist in increasing production and quality of the Blue Mountain coffee.

President of the Jamaica Promotions Corporation Diane Edwards, in her address, said her organisation is committed to working with the JCEA to build up the coffee industry and to find new markets.

Chairman of the JCEA Norman Grant further noted that the coffee industry is seeing a “slow and steady recovery…as the market is now reordering”.

During the awards ceremony five veterans of Jamaica’s coffee industry were honoured. They are John Oliver ‘Jackie’ Minott, St Clair Shirley, Dr Charles Lyn, Richard Anthony Sharp, and JCEA Chairman Norman Grant.

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