A Jamaican coffee farming advocate says a lack of marketing for Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is hurting the country’s export potential and diminishing the quality of life among farming families.
In his first Sectoral Debate as a member of the Jamaican House of Representatives, Paul Buchanan made clear his long-term intentions to help try to reinvigorate the country’s struggling coffee industry, in which many smallholder farmers have been struggling to make a profit.
Jamaica’s coffee exports — particularly in the premium segment — have been negatively affected in recent years by several forces, including a shift in the Japanese import market, borer pest infestations, and widespread crop loss from Hurricane Sandy.
According to a recent Jamaica Observer report, Buchanan appealed to his colleagues for more production and marketing support for small coffee farms, while also outlining an eight point plan for revitalizing the agriculture segment.
“One of the most painful experiences of my tenure has been to observe the daily struggles of our coffee farmers to provide for their children,” Buchanan told Parliment. “The problem is that the day of the primary producer is long gone. Unless our coffee farmers participate in the value-added component of the industry, they will be wiped out. The production of beans for sale at the farm gate alone is not tenable. The coffee farmer must become shareholders in the processing and marketing of their coffee to be viable.”