The Opposition People’s National Party is calling on the government to immediately intervene in what it’s calling a crisis in the coffee industry.
Opposition Spokesman on Agriculture, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says the issues affecting the price of coffee are threatening to negatively impact some 250,000 farmers, workers and their families. He says the issues primarily relate to the world famous Blue Mountain Coffee.
The primary merchants of the world-renowned Jamaican brand of coffee are the Wallenford and Mavis Bank Coffee companies, which have been at odds with coffee farmers in recent months.
The Wallenford and Mavis Bank Coffee companies have maintained that in recent years they’ve only been able to pay coffee farmers based on what they are able to sell the product for on the international market.
The Opposition argues that up to three years ago, coffee farmers were able to fetch about $12,000 per box for their coffee.
Dr. Ferguson says given the costs coffee farmers have to bear, they should be paid no less than $8,000 per box. But in August, coffee farmers were offered only $3,000 per box in the first instance for their product.
This led to protests by the coffee farmers.
Dr. Ferguson says the government should take immediate action to avert what he’s describing as an impending crisis.
The Opposition Spokesman says the government should be the last resort buyers for the coffee produced by local farmers.