Jamaica is seeking to expand production and exports of its super-premium Blue Mountain coffee, with a focus on the US market
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee on sale at coffee shop in Seoul, South Korea | Photo credit: Wade Van Laius
Jamaica is seeking to grow production and export volumes of its super-premium Blue Mountain coffee.
Speaking at a ceremony marking Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Day on 9 January 2022, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr, said the industry was profitable, but noted production volumes had fallen in recent years.
“The cultivation and production of coffee has been a stable agricultural activity for Jamaica, generating foreign exchange earnings of up to US$17m per year for the last three years. The industry is profitable and it translates to one that supports and improves the quality of lives of our coffee farmers and their families,” said Charles.
Charles added that Jamaica was seeking to grow its presence in the US market, which currently accounts for around 20% of exports. Meanwhile, Europe and the rest of the world make up around 10% of exports.
Japan, however, is Jamaica’s largest coffee importer, accounting for around 70% of exports. The East Asian nation has also been an active partner in Jamaica’s coffee growing industry, providing support for Jamaican coffee farmers to increase production and introduce eco-friendly farming methods, such as the use of natural fertiliser.
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Day was subsequently launched in 2018 by the Association of Japanese Importers of Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Coffee (AJIJC), which marks its 40th anniversary in 2022.
The event has since been staged annually by the Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association (JCEA) in collaboration with some 5,000 local coffee farmers, the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA) and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).
Jamaica’s coffee production is relatively low compared to other producing nations around the world, with the island producing around 23,000 60kg bags in the 2019/20 growing season – down from the 30,000-40,000 bags produced each year in the late 1990s. Blue Mountain coffee is certified by the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA).
Grown at high altitude in Jamaica’s eastern Blue Mountain range, Blue Mountain coffee is certified by the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA). The high-scoring origin fetches premium prices around the world, with 250g bags retailing at around $30-$75.