The Jamaican Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon Karl Samuda, has welcomed the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival to be held March 23-25, 2018 in Newcastle, St. Andrew, noting that it will be of significance in the marketing and branding of coffee.
The Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival will feature a trade day to include business development workshops for farmers, a festival marketplace highlighting culinary delights, coffee and culture, and will also provide an opportunity for persons to experience the Jamaica Blue Mountain Culinary Trail.
Speaking on behalf of Minister Samuda at a joint press conference held by the ministries of tourism and industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries in Kingston on January 23, Gusland McCook, acting director general of the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority(JACRA), said the festival was a signal of the Ministry’s commitment to promoting and expanding the possibilities of the coffee industry.
Continuing, he said that it is the Government’s intention to ensure that Jamaican coffee retains the signature pride of place it commands and, in that regard, the Government and Ministry have embarked on a multi-pronged approve to improve the industry.
These strategies include market diversification, and increased productivity and production of the Blue Mountain and high mountain coffee varieties.
The director general said that the Ministry’s goal is that ultimately there will be no need to import coffee beans into Jamaica. In that regard, coffee farmers are being encouraged to increase their productivity and production of Blue and High mountain coffee so that we will have a totally Jamaican brand coffee.
In the interim, the Ministry has effected The Coffee Industry Amended Regulations 2017 in November 2017 where all imported coffee that is packaged and sold in Jamaica must include at least 20 per cent Jamaican coffee.
“Our vision is also that Jamaican coffee should be an essential ingredient in the increased production of a range of other value-added products to include liqueurs, candles, soaps, scrubs, sweets, chocolates and ice-cream,” stated Mr. McCook.
For his part, Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett, emphasised the importance of the coffee industry, noting that it was the 2nd most consumed liquid on earth, next to water. The three-day celebration, he said, would promote all things coffee and provide an opportunity for patrons to purchase high quality coffee and coffee products.