Samuda to review coffee industry
On Friday, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda met with stakeholders in the coffee industry for a review of the sector. The meeting, which took place at the ministry's Hope Road offices, brought together coffee farmers, dealers, exporters as well as officials from the Coffee Industry Board.
The level of coffee production and the price to be paid per box to farmers were among some of the topics discussed.
Processors were careful to explain that prices are dependent on market forces that obtain in the Japanese market, to which 70 per cent of locally produced coffee is sold.
The meeting was told that coffee farmers will be paid an average of $8,000 in the first instance per box of coffee.
However, this figure may be increased, depending on negotiations due to take place with Japanese importers this month.
There has been a decline in the demand for Blue Mountain coffee on the Japanese market because of the increase in prices charged by local processors. The product has moved from US$27 to US$65 per kilogram in the last two years.
"It is clear we must now understand that unless our coffee can be competitive against other, albeit inferior, sources of coffee, we will not be able to get the level of market satisfaction we need and this will impact negatively on our coffee farmers," said Samuda.
The agriculture minister has agreed to lead a team to include persons from the ministry as well as processors to visit farmers in the Blue Mountain coffee region to explain the pricing mechanism.
In addition, the Coffee Exporters Association, working in collaboration with the farmers, has been asked by the minister to present a proposal to establish agro-parks in coffee-producing areas.