Write a Better Title Tracing The Growth And Transformation Of Jamaica Coffee Industry

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Jamaica Coffee Industry

Jamaica Coffee Industry : The Caribbean has a long history of coffee production. In fact, some of the first commercial coffee farms were established in Jamaica and Haiti in the early 18th century.

Jamaica, in particular, is widely known for its Blue Mountain coffee, one of the most expensive and sought-after in the world, but despite this coffee’s reputation, the history of the country’s coffee sector is linked to colonialism and slavery .

How has Jamaica’s coffee industry changed over the last few centuries?Jamaica Coffee industry  I spoke with several local experts to learn more about the country’s coffee industry and what the future may hold. Read on to find out what they told me.

The origins of Jamaica Coffee Industry

In 1723, the Typica plant began to be cultivated on the Caribbean island of Martinique. It is believed to be the first Typica plant cultivated in America.

About five years later, the first coffee plant arrived in Jamaica, which at the time was under British colonial rule. Commercial coffee plantations were quickly established and within nine months Jamaica had exported its first crop.

Courtney Bramwell, general manager of Sherwood Forest Coffee Estate in Jamaica, explains that little else is known about the beginnings of many Jamaican coffee estates; However, research conducted by Jamaican history specialist Dr. Kathleen Monteith provides some data, especially in her book De ella Plantation Coffee in Jamaica 1790-1848 .

According to Dr. Monteith, the monoculture of sugar cane during the 18th century had a significant impact on Jamaican coffee production but towards the end of the century the production of cheaper sugar cane, in countries such as India, helped boost coffee plantations in Jamaica Coffee Industry

The country’s production volume also increased around 1791, when many African slaves revolted on the nearby island of Haiti . This event ended up causing the decline of coffee production on that island and several French owners of coffee farms fled to Jamaica. Unfortunately, upon arrival, French settlers continued to use slave labor to produce coffee.

How did the coffee sector in Jamaica change during the 19th century?

Between 1800 and 1840, Jamaica became one of the largest coffee producers in the world, with production estimated at 70,000 tons annually.“The Sherwood Forest coffee estate is first mentioned in the Kingston Dock Records of 1801,” explains Courtney. “It was one of the first coffee farms [in Jamaica].”

Towards the end of that period, the number of Jamaican coffee producers began to decline. In 1836, there were only 353 producers left on the island, compared to the nearly 700 registered in 1799. Starting in 1840, Jamaican coffee production progressively decreased. The main reason was the abolition of slavery in 1834, which led to the total emancipation of the country four years later.

In the following years, the country’s agricultural industry was completely restructured, coffee farm owners now had to formally and legally employ workers and pay them their wages, which focused their efforts on worker efficiency and not so much in producing large volumes of coffee.

In addition, many coffee plantations were divided into plots that were acquired by small farmers, as well as former slaves who grew products for their own consumption alongside a modest coffee production.

In 1865, a period of economic hardship and social unrest followed in Jamaica. A year later, the Jamaica Assembly, a system of self-government established during British colonial rule, voted to become a Crown colony.

Following this, the British began investing in Jamaican agriculture, including the establishment of a large-scale irrigation project in 1868. Before long, sugar cane once again became Jamaica’s largest cash crop, followed by banana production.Towards the end of the century, the British introduced the Crown Lands Settlement Scheme , a scheme that allowed small farmers to purchase two or more hectares of land.

The 20th and 21st centuries

Following the abolition of slavery, Jamaica’s coffee industry struggled for decades to increase its export volumes, as well as the quality of coffee and crops.It was not until the 1950s when the country’s government attempted to boost coffee production through the implementation of new regulations and initiatives.

Jason Flynn is the COO of Trumpet Tree Coffee Factory in Jamaica. He explains that the new regulations were a result of the 1944 Wakefield report.Mr AJ Wakefield, who was then the Inspector General of Agriculture for the West Indies, recognized the need to invest in Jamaica coffee industry.

“Among other things, the report suggested legislation and an official coffee board to regulate the island’s coffee industry,” says Jason.At the same time, in 1948 the Coffee Industry Regulation Law was approved. From there, in 1950, the Coffee Industry Board (CIB) was created to Jamaica Coffee Industry “encourage the development of the coffee industry in Jamaica and to promote the well-being of the people in the sector.”

Finally, in 1962, Jamaica became independent but is still part of the British Commonwealth of Nations; However, in 2000, the process of total deregulation of the Jamaican coffee industry was already well underway.

“For a long time, Mavis Bank, a government processing and export center, and others like Wallenford and Jablum, were the only well-known Jamaican coffee brands sold abroad,Jamaica Coffee industry” says Courtney.coffee farms “These groups processed coffee from the island’s small farmers, which they collected through a network of warehouses located throughout the Blue Mountain range.”

“All the coffee was processed jointly and sold under those brands,” he adds.Courtney explains that, over time, many in the country’s coffee sector were against this centralized processing model. Jamaica Coffee Industry“Now, traceability and transparency are valued more, so other exporters currently offer a better value proposition,” he says.The Wallenford brand was sold in 2013, while government processor and exporter Mavis Bank was sold in 2016, both to the same buyer.

“Going from a state hub as the main exporter to the privatization of all government holdings in the coffee industry was significant and the effects can still be felt in the market,” says Courtney.In 2018, a new agricultural commodities body, the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA), was created to boost and support the country’s coffee sector.

How has Japan influenced the evolution of Jamaican coffee production?

To any good observer, it is clear that Jamaica’s long relationship with Japan has definitely influenced its coffee industry.

“In 1953, Mavis Bank exported its first three barrels of coffee to Japan,” says Jason. “In 1967, what was the largest unit shipment of Jamaican coffee to date (1,400 60kg bags of green coffee) was shipped to Japan. “Over the years, Japan has become the leading importer of Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM) coffee,” he adds.

This coffee is grown in the famous Blue Mountain range of Jamaica, known for producing highly desirable flavors and aromas. Today, JBM coffee is geographically recognized by a global certification. This means that only coffee certified by a Jamaican government export body can be labeled and sold as JBM coffee.

Courtney says that since the creation of the CIB, coffee quality control has improved considerably in Jamaica. She believes this has sparked greater interest among Japanese buyers.Jamaica’s Coffee industry “In the 1990s, Japan bought about 90% of all Jamaican coffee,” he says.Jamaica Coffee Industry

It is estimated that Japan now imports around 75% coffee farms of the country’s total JBM coffee production. One of the main reasons is that the Japanese market for exclusive and specialty coffees is increasingly important, as in other East Asian countries.Jamaica’s Coffee Industry

Looking at the futureIn addition to Japan, interest in JBM coffee seems to spread globally.

“The United States accounts for about 20% of JBM coffee exports, with the rest going to markets around the world,” explains Jason.He points out that demand has recently grown in the North American market, especially due to the boost in electronic commerce during the pandemic.Jamaica Coffee Industry

Also, he says there is growing interest in China, the Middle East and Europe.Courtney agrees but says demand for JBM coffee seems to be outpacing supply.

“Increased household coffee consumption around the world means that more people are looking to purchase JBM coffee in countries that have historically had low demand,” he says. Likewise, he says that Sherwood Forest Coffee has partnered with Oubu Coffee to target new markets through new sales channels.

“Our approach to entering new markets, including the Middle East, is to use blockchain technology and smart farm systems,” explains Courtney. This is mainly due to counterfeit JBM coffee, which has been a problem for the Jamaican coffee industry for several years.

There have been known cases of certain Blue Mountain blends containing as little as 10% authentic and certified beans, leading some JBM brands to use NFTs and QR codes to validate their coffee products.Furthermore, the Jamaican coffee sector continues to face a number of difficulties.

“The challenge now is to ensure that increased demand does not cause a spike in market prices,” says Courtney. “We have to guarantee sustainable growth.Jamaica Coffee industry”“We must give our customers the peace of mind that their JBM coffee can be traced to one of our farms or one of our partners’ farms,” he adds. “We use blockchain technology as part of the supply chain verification process.”Ultimately, Courtney is confident that this will create a new standard in the Jamaican coffee industry for improved authenticity.