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New initiative set to boost Jamaica coffee exports to EU and spur growth

By Deidre Brathwaite

A new initiative to help boost Jamaican coffee exports to the European Union (EU) was launched at a high-level event on January 27, which celebrated a longstanding and fruitful partnership between the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) and the Government of Jamaica.

Caribbean Export will provide consultants to produce a comprehensive analysis of the EU coffee market and develop the market penetration strategy to increase the footprint of the Blue Mountain and Jamaica High Mountain coffee brands in Europe. The initiative is funded by the EU, as a part of ongoing and generous support to businesses in CARIFORUM countries.

“Europe holds strong prospects as a strong and important coffee market, with significant scope for the expansion of exports, due to its large consumer base of approximately 450 million consumers,” said Kamina Johnson Smith, minister for foreign affairs and foreign trade, speaking at the event.

Minister Johnson commended the ongoing support provided by Caribbean Export, funded by the EU, which she said has in the last four years provided grants amounting to US$1.3 million to 53 local firms. She highlighted the initiative will enable economic growth in the country, vital to rebound from the pandemic.

The EU already accounts for 10 percent of Jamaica’s total coffee exports. The absence of marketing intelligence and penetration strategies was flagged as an issue and barrier to expansion in Europe by Jamaica’s coffee exporters and their EU counterparts.

“Our goal is to assist in creating an evidence-based strategy for positioning Jamaican coffee in the European market, which, when executed, will connect with new consumers and create a memorable experience, while sharing the story behind the product and strengthening the unique brand identity of Jamaican coffee and Jamaica as a whole,” said Deodat Maharaj, executive director of Caribbean Export.

Maharaj emphasised the importance of leveraging the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement to expand coffee exports for jobs and growth. At a time of disruption, he said, “there is a silver lining” – the EU’s very attractive coffee market”.

Consultants, Windward Commodities, will conduct an in-depth review of the EU coffee market, including market entry requirements and an analysis of the market penetration strategies of other major coffee suppliers. They will provide recommendations to enhance the competitiveness of Jamaica coffee exporters in the EU market.

The event was attended by Kamina Johnson Smith, minister for foreign affairs and foreign trade, Dr Norman Dunn, MP minister of industry, investment and commerce, ambassador Symone Betton-Nayo, Norman Grant, president, Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association (JCEA), Deodat Maharaj, executive director of Caribbean Export, Jo Spalburg, Caribbean Chamber of Commerce in Europe, and other key partners.



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