Cess on imported coffee to take effect by year end
The cess to be imposed on coffee imports is expected to take effect by year-end.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Donovan Stanberry, says the regulation authorising the cess is now being drafted and is expected to be approved before the end of the year.
Agriculture Minister Karl Samuda announced the imposition of the cess last week after it was revealed that the main buyers of the premium brand Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee in Japan are demanding an almost 50 per cent cut in price and have refused to enter into new contracts until this is done.
Japanese traders paid US$60 per kilogramme for Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee last year.
The revelation came just as local farmers of the premium brand coffee were protesting about the low price they are being paid per box for the green coffee beans.
They say the $6,000 per box being offered is too low as the cost of producing the coffee is high.
However, local coffee processors say the price being offered to farmers is based on what the Japanese traders are offering.
In response to the downturn in the demand and price for Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, the Agriculture Minister said farmers should focus on increasing production of High Mountain grade coffee.
Samuda said the earnings from the cess will be used to aid to farmers to boost production of the lower grade coffee that is sold mainly in the local market.
He said boosting production of High Mountain grade coffee will in, in turn, reduce the amount imported for sale on the local market.