In a statement today, Mrs. Gordon Webley said “we want Mr. Shaw to end the practice of ‘secret dealing’ by telling the people more about the funds which he said would be given by China for the coffee industry”. She added that, "If that is what the money is available for the farmers, then he must tell them now".
East Rural St. Andrew is made up of large coffee growing areas, including the Blue Mountains, and the PNP caretaker says the Minister’s declared beneficiaries have not been consulted, neither have the people of Jamaica been informed whether the money is a grant or loan to the government of Jamaica.
The caretaker, who is also a coffee farmer, notes that many farmers either live or operate their farms in the constituency and everybody is in the dark.
“If Mr. Shaw wants to help coffee farmers he should consult and find out about the serious challenges affecting the sector”, she insists.
Mrs. Gordon-Webley highlights the fact that none of the Agriculture Minister’s recent announcements for the industry could help coffee farmers to revive their businesses, decimated by low prices, inactive processing plants and lack of coherent policies, even though there is value in maintaining good farm roads.
“The Minister had indicated that the money would be spent to repair coffee farm roads, despite large allocations to RADA for the same purpose”, Gordon-Webley notes.
She lamented the circumstances being faced by most producers across the coffee industry, who are struggling to make ends meet. “Our coffee farmers are suffering and need immediate help as income from beans today is more than 60% less than four years ago, when inputs were less expensive.
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