A raft of new measures is coming for the transformation of the coffee subsector. This according to Agriculture Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton who was speaking at yesterday’s launch of the Jamaica Blue Mountain decaffeinated coffee, a new product being added to the Jablum line sold by the Mavis Bank Coffee Factory.
Among the new measures to be implemented explained Minister Tufton was the constriction of the roles and functions of the coffee board. He said it was his belief that the board has too many functions and for too long it has been undertaking activities that must be left in the hands of private entrepreneurs and brand owners.
“The board I think in protection of the brand should work with the stakeholders to preserve and certify quality. Beyond that the board should step back and allow the private entrepreneur to do what he does best, which is to assume greater risk and benefit from the greater reward that are likely to come from that risk,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, pointing to the privatization of the of the cash strapped Mavis Bank Coffee Factory, the Minister said the new owners of the company would be made public shortly with the Wallenford Coffee Company to be offered up for sale to private sector interests in short order.
He also pointed out that despite the long relationship that the country has with the Japanese market, diversification of the current coffee market is being aggressively pursued. “The Japanese have contributed significantly to the development of the coffee industry in Jamaica, however like any prudent entrepreneur it is important to diversity our options,” he opined.
In lauding the company on its introduction of the new coffee product to the market, the Minister explained that for the coffee industry and other subsectors to survive it must focus on a value-chain approach, as primary production can be exploited. He said for far too long the country has focused on the trading of commodities when commodities have very little distinguishing features and overtime the country has lost significantly its competitive advantage in some areas.
In the meantime, Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen has endorsed the caffeine free product which was created based on a partnership between the Blue Mountain Coffee Inc. - Mavis Banks USA Agent and Canadian decaffeination entity Swiss Water Company.
The Mavis Bank Coffee Factory Limited processes some 1.4 million pounds of green coffee beans annually for markets in Japan, the United States, Canada, Korea, Taiwan and Europe