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Jamaican coffee farmers urged to look at other options to expand the industry

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF), Hon. Audley Shaw (right), along with Member of Parliament for St. Andrew East Rural, Juliet Holness; and Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon Audley Shaw, is urging coffee farmers to look at other ways to expand Jamaica’s vibrant coffee industry. He noted that opportunities abound in the Jamaican coffee industry for value-added product development.

“We would like to expand the coffee industry in areas such as specialty coffee roasting, sauces, baking and confectionary, essential oils, aromatherapy and cosmetics. This is how we can create and maintain a viable and sustainable Jamaican coffee industry,” Minister Shaw said.

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The Minister was speaking at the press launch of the 2nd staging of the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday, January 15, 2018.

The three-day event, scheduled for March 1-3, will be held at the Jamaica Defence Force training ground in the hills of Newcastle, St Andrew.

Minister Shaw added that coffee farmers are serious about the reputation of the Jamaican coffee, the taste of our coffee and the sustainability of our coffee for the people of Jamaica.

“We want to see more of our farmers increase their productivity and produce more of Jamaica’s coffee varieties, including high mountain coffee, which can then be blended with the Blue Mountain coffee. What we want to have is a totally Jamaican coffee brand. Jamaican coffee must be the gold brand. We do not want the Jamaican brand to be watered down or bastardised,” said Minister Shaw.

In his address, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said that the Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Festival represents the coming together of two of the country’s important economic industries – tourism and coffee.

“The synergy of these two industries through the coffee festival will help to strengthen linkages between tourism and agriculture while spreading the economic benefits derived from tourism to local communities, particularly rural households. Coffee has the potential to become a commodity that can change communities through linkages with tourism,” Minister Bartlett added.

The Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Festival is being promoted by Minister Shaw and Minister Bartlett and is spearheaded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund’s Gastronomy Network.