Holness encourages coffee farmers to up productivity, change price per box mindset
Member of Parliament for East Rural St Andrew Juliet Holness says it is critical that coffee farmers increase productivity on their farms.
Holness says this will provide farmers with a buffer in the event of price shocks.
Coffee farmers have been complaining that they are unable to survive on the $6,000 paid to them per box of coffee beans.
However, with Japanese trading partners refusing to pay the relatively high prices they have paid in the last two years, it appears unlikely that that price paid to farmers will increase.
Agriculture Minister Karl Samuda yesterday announced an $80 million programme for these farmers, which will provide fertiliser, fungicides and other inputs as well as training.
The aim he said, was to increase the productivity of farmers and to get them from 20 to 80 boxes per acre.
The move has been widely welcomed.
However, there are some who question why farmers are being encouraged to produce more coffee when the market appears to be uncertain.
In an interview on Nationwide 90 FM yesterday evening Holness said, "the Japanese has said to us, if you are able to increase your volume and your productivity, it means you will be able to come to us with better prices." "So I say to my farmers, if you normally sell 10 box, at $10,000, you would have been getting $100,000".
"Can you imagine if on that same farm, with just a minute adjustment to your investment you are able to produce 40 boxes?" "It means, exponentially, even if you are at $5,000 per box, or $6,000 per box that increased productivity makes it far more profitable for you as a coffee farmer." "That is what we are having to do in terms of just changing the thought process of only price per box." she continued.