As we all know in the agriculture business, anything can change in a day’s weather. However sometimes a lack of proper planning may help Mother Nature’s disastrous effects move more swiftly. Case in point with the drowning coffee in Jamaica.
Why would there be drowning coffee in Jamaica? Not the usual topic of conversation when you discuss coffee, however being in the business of Farming and Roasting Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee it is an unfortunate topic of conversation this week.
It begins with the necessary rain that falls in the Blue Mountains and the inevitable result of gravity. The rainwater naturally runs down hill to sea level and will drain into the ocean as it should. However, during heavy rains in the mountains, on Marcus Garvey Drive last Friday, September 9th, that’s not what happened; instead there is $7-8 Million worth of coffee drowning in Jamaica.
According to The Article in the Jamaica Gleaner Online this is no small amount of coffee that was lost in the flood. The coffee had been processed and set for export that represented more than one third of the exports for the 2016-2016 crop. That means someone, somewhere is not getting their Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee this season. Given the 85% demand from Japan, one would lead to guess it was set for export to The Japanese Market.
If you have been following our blog for any of the past 3-4 years, Jamaica’s coffee crops have been ravaged form Berry Borer Beetles, hurricanes, Leaf Rust, Fire, and an increasing demand from the Japanese which spiked a price increase that saw farmers getting paid top dollar. Good for the farmers, bad for sales. The increased coffee prices all across the board saw retail prices in the #$60-$70 per lb. cost here in the US.
Just when we were looking for prices to level out as quoted from the Gleaner’s article “Just two days before the flood rain, the Ministry of Agriculture was boasting about the sector’s performance – exports rocketed from US$18.7 million in 2014 to US$25.2 million in 2015. It was the best earnings in five years, but still off the record set around the time the global financial crisis hit.”
There is only speculation as to what will happen to coffee prices as this plays out and we look toward the 2016-2017 crop, but it just goes to show that you just never know….