The Jamaican Coffee Industry Board plays a crucial role in Jamaica’s economy as it pertains to the production and export of their highly esteemed high altitude coffee beans. Thanks to the Board’s tight control over licensing, certification and advising Jamaica produces some of the world’s highest quality coffee beans.
Purpose of the Board
The main purpose of the Coffee Industry Board is to promote, regulate, monitor and guide the development of Jamaica’s coffee industry. The Board is to maintain the highly regarded reputation of high quality coffee beans that Jamaica has worked hard to establish.
The Coffee Industry Board has three main responsibilities:
Licensing – Granting dealers, processors and plantations the use of the trademarked names Jamaica Blue Mountain® and Jamaican High Mountain Supreme® as well as monitoring these licensees to protect the brand’s integrity.
Certification – Defining appropriate growing areas and coffee plant varieties to ensure quality standards. As part of the certification, the Board performs sample testing, prepares export documentation and takes custody of green coffee for export.
Advising – Monitoring and forecasting crop conditions, assisting local farmers with planting and harvesting techniques as well as environmental management.
Mission of Coffee Industry Board
The mission of the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica clearly makes a statement about their commitment to remaining one of the best coffee producers in the world:
“The Coffee Industry Board encourages the development of the Jamaican coffee industry, promotes the welfare of persons engaged in the industry and protects the quality and integrity of Jamaican coffee.”
Why was the Jamaican Coffee Industry Board Formed?
In the early 1940’s Canada was the primary export market for Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee; the United States was as secondary traditional market. Because sales and production were left to individual merchants competition increased and drove prices down (often at the expense of quality). At one point Produce Dealers, the largest of Jamaican exporters, saw an opportunity to become more competitive by shipping coffee that fell well below Jamaican Standards and was nowhere near the quality of the samples offered for sale.
In 1943 Canadian Importers stopped importing Jamaican coffee as the quality was rapidly declining; some U.S. markets also refused to import Jamaican coffee. As a result there was a large supply of coffee in Jamaican warehouses with no buyers. With the Second World War taking place in Europe Jamaica couldn’t even entertain the idea of entering the European markets.
The Jamaican government needed to step in. The coffee industry was extremely important to the country’s economic and social development; with no export market the Dealers stopped purchasing from local Blue Mountain growers placing hardship on the locals.
In 1944, Mr. AJ Wakefield, the Inspector General of Agriculture in the West Indies at the time, published a report outlining a means to rescue Jamaica’s coffee industry and subsequently save its economy. At first the Coffee Clearing House was started to purchase coffee from Dealers. The Clearing House was designed to take care of cleaning, grading and exporting the coffee to ensure a consistent coffee bean.
However, this alone did not improve the high quality status Jamaican coffee once had. Furthermore, Jamaican coffee growers wanted to make a direct investment in the coffee industry rather than ship their green beans to the Produce Dealers. As a result the Coffee Industry Board was established on June 2, 1950.
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Certified by the Board
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“Jamaican Coffee Industry Board”
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