Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Salada completes 60% of its pledge to buy local Blue Mountain coffee

Dianna Blake-Bennett, General Manager of Salada Foods Jamaica.

Dianna Blake-Bennett, General Manager of Salada Foods Jamaica.

Less than 90 days after publicly pledging to purchase 25,000 boxes of coffee cherries from local Blue Mountain coffee farmers, Salada Foods Jamaica has already reached the 60 per cent complete mark on its commitment.

Salada Foods Jamaica, makers of Jamaica Mountain Peak coffee, has purchased 15,011 boxes of coffee cherries or 60 per cent of its pledge as of the first week in January 2019.

The coffee cherries are purchased at $4,000 a box and together with the local processing from cherries to green beans, represents a $120 million injection into the industry to date.

“We now have three main coffee cherry buying parishes St Andrew, St Thomas and Portland with approximately 13 depots in operation,” said Dianna Blake-Bennett, General Manager of Salada Foods Jamaica.

Among the 13 depots are those operated by Stoneleigh Coffee Processors Limited with which Salada Foods has entered into a partnership to process cherries to green beans.

“The depots are now temporarily branded Salada Coffee Station to ensure farmers know who is buying their coffee,” added Blake-Bennett.

Salada has also engaged Christopher Gentles, an agronomist and former Director-General of the Coffee Industry Board, as the consultant and lead on the project.

The famous Jamaican coffee company started purchasing coffee cherries in November last year and bought 747 boxes of cherries from 200 farmers at the Mount Airy, Red Light District and Mount James depots on its first night.

According to Coffee Farmer Nigel Whitton, the investment has been one of the best things that happened to the Coffee Farmers in 2018.

“We nearly did not see Christmas,” noted Whitton. “Right in the time when the coffee peak the entities lock down the factories on us. The coffee [cherries] in the bush dropping off the trees. Then Salada announced that they were going to purchase cherries. Listen, man sleep at bush that night just to get the coffee [cherries] because they couldn’t believe at this stage someone really come to bail us out. We really appreciate Salada.”

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