Coffee industry needs shake-up
CHAIRMAN OF the Coffee Industry Board, Frank Phipps, QC, has said more has to be done to grow the industry's assets even as it awaits divestment of the commercial aspects of its operations.
Phipps lamented recently that nothing is being done to explore the many business partnership options available, despite giving up the board's long-held monopoly on the marketing of cocoa.
Phipps is a cocoa farmer and upon taking office last October, the senior attorney-at-law said it was accepted that the farmers' welfare would be the primary concern of the board, but this is still to be achieved.
He insists: "Despite the mono-polistic status of the board, it has authority to enter into partnerships with any other person to carry out its functions under the act. This opportunity, as far as I know, has never been explored in an industry that is too small to be fragmented."
Addressing a cocktail reception for the event 'Celebrating Cocoa Collaboration' sponsored by the USA firm MARS, he cited the song The Farmer and the Cowboy Should be Friends from the musical Oklahama, which portrayed the need for collaboration in agriculture.
"In Jamaica, there was a take-off on that song I Would Like My Wife and Sweetheart to be Friends, which resembles the cocoa industry today. While the Cocoa Industry Board may be the wife in that relationship, exploiting that legal status to the disadvantage of others should not be encouraged," he declared. Instead, there should be collaboration.
The cocoa industry has come into the spotlight in recent years, and Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke has indicated that there is need for a major shake-up.