Coffee crisis brewing
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
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