Acting Director General of the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA), Gusland McCook (left), presents a coffee machine to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dermon Spence, at the Ministry’s offices at Hope Gardens in Kingston on January 11. The Ministries are on a drive to increase coffee consumption among its staff to the benefit of local coffee farmers.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoAF) and the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC) have embarked on a drive to support the increased consumption of Jamaica Blue and High Mountain Coffees among its staff, agencies, and the wider society. Both MoAF and MIIC and have received a coffee machine from the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA) to assist in its efforts.
Permanent Secretary with oversight for both Ministries, Dermon Spence explained that a survey was conducted in collaboration with JACRA and the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) as part of an examination of strategies to support the local coffee industry.
He pointed out that the research revealed the need for an increase in coffee consumption as only a handful of Jamaicans consumed the “high speciality commodity respected around the world”.
“Through the trade unit within the then Ministry of Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF), we organised the survey to see the level of consumption of coffee among our agencies and staff and we found it to be low in terms of the local brand,” Mr. Spence pointed out.
He was speaking at the handover of the coffee machine and blends of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee at the MoAF office at Hope Gardens in Kingston on January 11.
The Permanent Secretary envisions that the increased consumption of coffee among staff in the Ministry as well as across its agencies will result in a multiplier effect that will be felt among the hundreds of farmers in the industry.
“This is a demonstration of the drive and the direction we are going to expand the consumption of locally produced coffee and to ensure that the farmers benefit along the value chain,” he said.
Meanwhile, Acting Director General of JACRA, Gusland McCook, said the inclusion of the Ministry represents part of the overall drive to increase consumption of coffee across Jamaica as consumption levels represent 0.25 per kilogramme of coffee per capita.
“If we start at the Ministry, we can then extrapolate to the wider society so this initiative is important in that respect. With increased local consumption, you have a more solid market so more of what is produced is used up locally rather than having to seek markets,” he said.
The initiative follows the celebration of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Day on January 9 as part of efforts to highlight Jamaica’s strong bilateral partnership with Japan and the increasing prominence of the coffee on the international market.
This initiative reflects a collaborative effort between the MoAF and MIIC who were formally MICAF. The Ministries continue to work together to this joint programme. A coffee machine has been placed in both Ministries to encourage increased staff consumption of our local blend.
The day also commemorated the first large shipment of coffee beans from Jamaica to Japan on January 9, 1967.
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