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Clarke to meet coffee farmers, industry players

Published:Wednesday | January 18, 2012 | 1:41 AM

Jerome Reynolds, Gleaner Writer

Players in the coffee industry are gearing up to hold critical discussions with new Agriculture Minister, Roger Clarke, on strategies to help save the sector.

The meeting is scheduled for tomorrow.

The coffee industry has been on the decline and the All Island Coffee Growers Association, has appealed to the new People’s National Party Administration to immediately intervene.

Recently, the association lamented that issues such as a severe berry borer infestation, the low price per box of coffee and reduced markets are seriously threatening the prospects for this crop season.

The agriculture minister said he has heard the calls and will be holding a strategy meeting with the coffee industry players.

The Coffee Industry Board last month revised its projection for coffee output this crop because of the issues affecting the industry.

The sector was originally estimated to produce some 234,000 boxes of coffee but that has been shifted downward to between 150,000 and 180,000 boxes.

This would result in Jamaica’s lowest coffee production in decades.