KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaican Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda (on the right in the picture) is urging local farmers to expand production of low-land and high-mountain coffee in an effort to reduce green coffee bean imports.
Low-land and high-mountain coffee is grown outside of the Blue Mountain range in parishes such as Clarendon, St. Catherine, Manchester and St. James. Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is sometimes mixed with other coffee beans to produce a coffee blend that is in high demand but fetches relatively lower prices.
The country imported just under 430 tonnes of green coffee beans valuing US$1.74m in 2016 for this purpose.
Minister Samuda says the time has come for more of these beans to be produced locally.
“We can blend the Blue Mountain coffee with our locally grown coffee. We must develop low-land and high-mountain coffee across the length and breadth of Jamaica where it can be produced,” said Minister Samuda.
Minister Samuda was speaking Wednesday at the launch of the JS 61:2016 Jamaican Specification for Coffee at the Bureau of Standards Jamaica.
Minister Samuda also announced that plans to tax imported green beans are well advanced.
“We are going to put a cess on the imported beans, because there is already acess on locally grown green beans, so we are leveling the playing field,” said Minister Samuda.
The money collected from the cess will be used for the development and expansion of the local coffee industry.
The new coffee standard focuses on the specific requirements for local and imported coffee.
It establishes the conditions to preserve the Jamaican coffee quality and brand, which are necessary for maintaining the authenticity of Jamaican Coffee.