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Jamaica Coffee Growers Association - incompetent?

Published:Friday | April 27, 2012 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The coffee industry in Jamaica has had a rich heritage over many years with our coffee delighting the most discerning palates the world over.

Sadly, this industry is now in a state of inertia and introspection must begin with the role played by the Jamaica Coffee Growers Association (JCGA).

Commodity boards and representative associations the world over are by definition to stand at the vanguard to defend protecting, and stoutly advance the cause of its members against domination in a common sphere of business or operation.

JCGA has had its fair share of handicaps in a local industry beleaguered by problems. This less than one-year-old association, since its relaunch, is called upon to function in difficult times where people now clamour for mere survival in a truly critical sector of the country's economy. It is your judgement whether we get a failing grade.

This association, like all others of value, should be nothing less than the lifeblood of the industry, playing a significant role in the dynamism of the industry and the hub of support for the dealers, the regulatory board, farmers, etc.

It cannot be uncommon for the associations to take leadership in dispensing information, farm input, and other basic duties which will then free up a superior regulator like the Coffee Industry Board (CIB) to single-mindedly concentrate on that issue.

Going the extra mile

We eat, sleep, and cry with our farmers and even within an industry where there is much unity, we still go the extra mile in extending ourselves to interface with issues concerning the dealer, as well as making overtures to the CIB itself, when the need arises.

We could do a lot more had it not been for lack of enabling. We have not abdicated the charge to find new markets for coffee, and bring a halt to the mass exodus of small farmers, nor have we lost sight of our responsibility to avail the growers of suitable peril insurance coverage.

All this we are valiantly doing without a subsistence budget.

While funding is difficult, yet we still offer sound and sober approaches to the Wallenford issue because we are unfettered and are known to have no ulterior motives, and still trusting that our advice will be taken.

We are not different from other organisations who are feeling the financial pinch, but we must live up to expectations in keeping with our promise to get better prices for our farmers, even if it means taking on more responsibilities to make it happen.

The residue from the crop insurance fund is one way to start and we expect a favourable pronouncement in order to start doing the multiples of services expected of us.

Derrick Simon

JCGA President

derrickdsimon@yahoo.com