Jamaica launches crackdown on counterfeit coffee

The Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA) has launched an enforcement drive to tackle copycat coffee it says is damaging authentic Jamaican brands.

Jamaican coffee is sold at a premium because cultivation only takes place in the Blue Mountain and High Mountain areas of the small Caribbean country, and that means only a limited supply of the product is ever available for sale on international markets.

Jamaica’s Blue Mountain coffee was among the first to be considered a ‘specialty’ coffee, i.e. a gourmet product grown in special geographic microclimates that produce beans with unique flavour profiles.

JACRA has just released a statement saying that the Jamaican coffee sector is losing millions of dollars to the illicit trade, which is also damaging the reputation of the Blue Mountain and High Mountain brands.

“We will apply the full letter of the law, including the seizure of the contraband and the application of other enforcement measures,” it says. “Over the years, JACRA has tried to use moral suasion and strident appeals to offending parties to adhere to good corporate governance and to cease and desist from this injurious practice, but to no avail.”

The agency goes on: “These enterprises know themselves and are familiar with the methods, including trademarks and labelling standards that can be used to assure the authenticity of the products and help to determine that only genuine products are marketed.”

The island’s industry – which dates back to the 1700s – is being hit by weakened demand and low prices as counterfeit brands flood the market. Reduced demand in Japan – traditionally one of its top export markets – has however also had an impact, along with a decline in farm productivity.

Japanese market share has fallen from 95 per cent 25 years ago with both the US and Europe growing over the period.

The Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association (JCEA) is currently hosting 35 large coffee roasting company from the All Japan Association of Roasters “as a part of the strategy to rebuild the brand in the Japanese market and market it to a younger generation of coffee consumers”.

Image credit: Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top