Sun | May 19, 2019

Growth & Jobs | Coffee boost - JAMPRO, partners promote Jamaica premium coffee products in the USA

Published:Tuesday | April 23, 2019 | 12:10 AM

In a bid to increase exports of Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Coffee, JAMPRO and eight coffee manufacturers and growers participated in the Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston, United States of America (USA), April 11-14, 2019 to promote Jamaica’s premium coffee products. The export promotion mission aimed to boost international business for local coffee growers and manufacturers.

The mission was the result of a partnership cemented by JAMPRO, the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA) and the Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association (JCEA) in January this year, which aims to reposition Jamaican coffee globally, and capitalise on the demand for Blue and High Mountain Coffee internationally. The delegation included coffee companies: Blue Mountain Coffee Ventures, Clifton Mount Coffee Estate and Clydesdale, Country Traders, Jamaica Coffee Corporation (Stoneleigh Coffee), Jamaica Standard Products, Mavis Bank Coffee Factory, Wallenford Coffee Company and Trumpet Tree Coffee Factory.

The Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston attracts over 13,000 buyers, influencers, purchasing agents, executives and managers from across the coffee industry globally. The USA is one of the largest consumers of coffee and is known as the home of specialty coffee with over 31,490 specialty coffee shops in that market alone.

The event provided the perfect setting for the coffee producers to seek export business, with the United States increasing its demand for premium and specialty coffee. The United States’ National Coffee Association reported that the market share of specialty coffee in the USA has moved from 40 per cent in 2000 to 59 per cent in 2017, a trend that is expected to continue.

An opportunity to increase coffee exports

Discussing the mission and overall push to promote the coffee industry, president of the JCEA, Norman Grant said, “Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee plays an important part in sustaining the livelihoods of 5,000 small farmers and their families. These farmers will be major beneficiaries of our joint efforts with JAMPRO and JACRA to grow coffee exports globally.”

Based on preliminary data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, the coffee industry generated in excess of US$14.6 million in export sales in 2018. JAMPRO President Diane Edwards explained that her agency believes far more can be done to assist the coffee industry with accessing international markets. She said, “JAMPRO and our partners will be simultaneously working to better promote coffee to international markets and identify buyers and other outlets for Jamaican brands. Within the past 10 years, coffee exports averaged approximately US$20 million per annum, at its current level the industry is underperforming, and we have to increase our marketing efforts to impact these numbers.”

She added that, “Jamaica is home to one of the best coffee brands in the world and our partnership with the industry will not only aim to build the brand’s prominence globally, but also increase our export sales figures in the medium term. With the specialty coffee mission, we were able to reach a specific audience that has rising demand in the sector, allowing the companies to make crucial business connections in the international market.”