Cof­fee cri­sis brew­ing

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Christo­pher Serju Gleaner Writer

ALEGAL bat­tle is brew­ing be­tween the Cof­fee In­dus­try Board (CIB) and Gen­eral Ac­ci­dent In­surance Com­pany Ja­maica Lim­ited over the lat­ter’s al­leged fail­ure to pay com­pen­sa­tion for an es­ti­mated US$3-mil­lion worth of cof­fee dam­aged by the Septem­ber flood­ing of the CIB’s Mar­cus Gar­vey Drive ware­house.

This has re­sulted in cash­strapped deal­ers be­ing un­able to buy beans in the usual amounts, trig­ger­ing a set­back for the 2016-17 crop.

De­scrib­ing the re­sult­ing fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion as a “se­ri­ous cri­sis in the cof­fee in­dus­try”, Nor­man Grant, CEO of the Mavis Bank Cof­fee Fac­tory, on Wed­nes­day called for ur­gent in­ter­ven­tion by Karl Sa­muda, min­is­ter of in­dus­try, com­merce, agri­cul­ture and fish­eries, to save the in­dus­try.

“A lot of the play­ers in the in­dus­try had their cof­fee there and were expecting to get that money to pay farm­ers and were just told about two days ago that the Cof­fee In­dus­try Board did not have the proper in­surance, which means that this money may not be paid to the cof­fee farm­ers and would also af­fect the com­pa­nies’ abil­ity to pay for cherry cof­fee. So there could cer­tainly be a le­gal bat­tle be­tween the in­surance com­pany and the Cof­fee In­dus­try Board,” Grant said on Wed­nes­day.

“But, in the mean­time, the The flooded car park at the Wal­len­ford Cof­fee Com­pany at Mar­cus Gar­vey Drive, Kingston, on Septem­ber 9.

Ja­maica Cof­fee Ex­porters As­so­ci­a­tion (JCEA), which is the group of play­ers who buy cof­fee, has ap­pealed to the min­is­ter and the Gov­ern­ment to see if they could find a way to ad­vance this money to the cof­fee farm­ers so that we can pay the farm­ers.”

JCEA Pres­i­dent Ja­son Sharp said the sit­u­a­tion has re­sulted in

“se­vere liq­uid­ity is­sues” for the com­pa­nies usu­ally en­gaged in buy­ing cof­fee, who now find them them­selves, un­able to re­coup any of the money spent on the pre­vi­ous crop.

“This is cof­fee that would have been pur­chased as cherry cof­fee. It would have been picked up from de­pots, it would have been pulped, it would have

AWAIT­ING THE PLAN

RI­CARDO MAKYN/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

SHARP

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