Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Black Gold - Jamaica's Treasure Ignored



I briefly glimpsed a bit of a news clip late last week which was mentioning that cofee was the next biggest item traded on the market behind oil....huh? what? I didn't get to see the entire news piece but that stuck in my head. As a coffee lover and knowing what I shell out for a cup especially in the US I wondered to myself Isn't our Blue Mountain Coffee world famous or renowned or something?




I pushed it to the back of my head.....

This morning the headline in the Gleaner of the govt shelling out J$22M to consultants to tell us how to create off-shore banking or some other crap along with the J$22B contract Ashtrom won and then finally the fact that we were again suffered another rating downgrade this time by Fitch brought this back to mind.

Why is it we don't invest in the things we do best? That for lack of a better term come "naturally" to us? One of them being coffee farming? Instead we shell out millions and billions of investments that never come to light, end up falling apart within a matter of years or offer no ROI.

This Black Gold we have on our hands is no joke.....Coffee is an $80 BILLION Industry. The US has an $18B coffee market of which specialty coffee sales are increasing by 20% per year and account for nearly 8% of the market.

With the US being the closest of mass coffee consumers nearest to us let's look at their consumption trends:



  • COFFEE STATISTICS: show that among coffee drinkers the average consumption in the United States is 3.1 cups of coffee per day.
  • COFFEE STATISTICS: 50% of the population, equivalent to 150 million Americans, drink espresso, cappuccino, latte, or iced/cold coffees.
  • COFFEE SHOP FACTS: Independent coffee shops equal $12 billion in annual sales.
  • COFFEE SHOP FACTS: At the present time there are approximately 24,000 Coffee Shops across the country. Statistics show there will be approximately 50,000+ Coffee Shops by the year 2010.
  • COFFEE SHOP FACTS: The average Espresso Drive-thru Business sells approximately 200-300 Cups of Espresso and Coffee Based Drinks per day.

According to the National Coffee Association & Speciality Coffeee Assoc of America in their latest research over 50% of Americans over 18 years of age drink coffee every day.

When you break down their data that means:

The 50% represents over 150 million daily drinkers. If that is not a staggering number their reserach also shows that 30 million of American adults drink specialty coffee beverages daily; which include a mocha, latte, espresso, café mocha, cappuccino, frozen/iced coffee beverages, etc.


So blah blah blah Tara! WTH does this matter that's America not Jamaica.....True but as I mentioned above behind OIL it (Coffee) is the 2nd largest IMPORT in the United States. Yes that is correct....and guess what if they're importing it that means they aint growin' it or enough of it to meet their market demands

Just so you know-->>Coffee is the most widely served beverage.....it's available any and every where

Wondering where they get their coffee from? I was too so I did some checking and this is what I found:

Columbia commands the biggest piece of the $4 Billion coffee import pie with 20.7% and Brazil not far behind with 17.1% -- you may be wondering if Jamaica is in there anywhere....yes indeed we are however we're less than .4% falling behind Yemen, Canada & France.

I have to buss out a big rahtid laugh....Yemen....Canada.....France? Can you imagine? Even Papua New Guinea mashing us up commanding 1% of the US import market.

See for yourself:

http://www.nationmaster.com/red/pie/eco_tra_wit_us_us_imp_of_gre_cof-trade-us-imports-green-coffee#definition

What's the Big Deal you may say? the big deal is that our Blue Mountain Coffee is a friggin big deal....it's rated/ranked as some of the BEST coffee in the World. Yes Blue Mountain may be a bit more on the pricey side but we also produce High Mountain coffee.

Did I mention that production wise we produce more coffee than Papua New Guinea, Kenya & Vietnam but all of those countries have higher import #'s from the US.

Isn't that crazy???? Well u aint seen crazy yet because in September of this year (2009) the Coffee Industry Board sent out a release stating that Jamaica's multi-billion dollar coffee industry had become the latest sector to be hit hard by the prolonged global economic crisis....in fact they were scrambling to find monies locally to purchase cherry coffee which is critical to maintain their world class quality. Yep.....maybe I didn't mention a key piece of info:

Jamaica currently earns up US$30 million or more than J$2 billion annually from coffee exports.

So why aren't we investing in making this into a $10 Billion or let's start small even a $5 Billion earner for our country? Why aren't we spending this surplus of cash we've seem to have found to "spruce up" the country, build private airports, buy chairs and houses for our government or even employing Chris Zacca at 5.7M (part time) to provide high-level advice and support to the prime minister on the development and implementation of policies, strategies and key initiatives designed to support the achievement of national socio-economic objectives (phew that's a mouthful). Couldn't we take even a wee bit of that to turn a US$30M earner into a US$50M earner? Maybe Zacca could look into this as a "key initiative" anyone have his #?

There are so many opportunities and now with the whole going green there's an increase in demand for Organic Coffee not to mention the by-products of coffee (husks, skins & substitutes containing coffee). So with this push by Minister Tufton to re-engage persons in framing & agriculture why not coffee farming? why not look at the multitude of opportunities that could come from this....including job opportunities.

Brazil employs over 5 million people because of the coffee trade; most of those are involved with the cultivation and harvesting of more than 3 billion coffee plants.

They see the coffee industry an investment and maybe that's why they command 17.1% of the US import Market.

Mind you we haven't even touched on the demand for Coffee & RTD (read to drink) Coffee Beverages abroad....especially in Asia (Japan & China).

Speaking of which I had simply shared a few facts/stats in relation to the USA I had not even touched on Asia - Japan especially and it's affinity to Jamaica, Coffee & Reggae - come the hell on - is that not a Golden Goose waiting to lay an egg or what?? Japan is ranked the 3rd in the world for coffee consumption.

Here are a few interesting facts in relation to coffee internationally:

1. Coffee shops make up the FASTEST GROWING part of the restaurant business, checking in with a 7% annual growth rate!
2. World coffee production is estimated at 110 - 120 million bags per year!
3. 14 billion espresso coffees are consumed each year in Italy, reaching over 200,000 coffee bars, and still growing!
4. Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day, or equivalent to 146,000,000,000 (146 Billion) cups of coffee per year; making the United States the LEADING CONSUMER of coffee in the world.
5. Japan ranks number 3 in the world for coffee consumption.
6. Coffee represents 75% of all the caffeine consumed in the United States.
7. Café Bars average sales of 230 cups a day.

Sounds like an opportunity doesn't it? We already have the basic foundation (climate/soil/knowledge) all it takes is for the government to recognise the possibilities and make an investment on what is sure to be an ever-growing market

Guess all I can do is hope they'll plant this bean & the country can benefit from it's growth....


34 comments:

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