Coffee Production in Jamaica Increased by 5.1 Percent Last Year

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Coffee production in Jamaica has increased by 5.1 percent last year with an export value of US$17 million, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister,  Pearnel Charles Jr has said.

BLUEmoPhoto credit: Sherwood Forest Coffee EstateHe told the Coffee Farmers’ Trade Day’ expo that the projection is for continued upward trajectory this year with a total of 251,296 boxes of coffee being produced last year, including 239,885 boxes of Blue Mountain coffee and 11,411 boxes of High Mountain coffee.

In addition, Charles Jr. noted that the projection is for the current crop to yield 264,900 boxes, with 251,000 boxes being Blue Mountain coffee and 13,900 boxes being High Mountain coffee.

“So, we’re moving up in increments, and that’s a positive thing. This is an encouraging sign of growth and progress in the industry,” he said, commending the “hard-working, dedicated coffee farmers across Jamaica” who have contributed to the growth of the industry, while encouraging them to continue making strides.

The ‘Coffee Farmers’ Trade Day’ expo is one of several activities being held ahead of the sixth annual Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival, scheduled for March 25.

The expo was organized by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA), with support from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).

In his address, Charles Jr urged farmers to support the agricultural sector’s modernization by embracing ongoing changes across the industry. He said they should not regard innovation and transformation occurring within the sector as a threat.

“Do not see it as an attack on you; see it as something to help you. Embrace the technology and incorporate it into what you are doing.

“Make sure that if there are seminars or workshops, you go and you learn. Make sure that if you have recommendations or constructive criticism, that you let them be heard. Things will not change for the better if you remain silent. We want our farmers to be more involved, and we want, as a Ministry, to be more connected,” Charles said.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, reminded farmers that agriculture is essential for the tourism sector’s sustenance.

“Of all the partners that tourism has across the world… of all the key players that enable travel and tourism to happen, farmers and agriculturalists are at the heart of it and are the most important… because 80 percent of the reason that people travel is to consume food,” . Bartlett said.

He encouraged the farmers to continue ramping up production, pointing out that the demand for local goods has “increased tremendously” since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister pointed farmers to the “stark reality that the opportunity for you to grow and expand and earn and to prosper from tourism is now better than it ever was in the history of tourism in Jamaica”.