Japan is one of the most vibrant markets for dancehall music. Outside of music, another ‘pride and joy’ of Jamaica which has enjoyed popularity in Japan for decades is the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee.
Two days ago, Japan celebrated Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Day. The initiative was first legislated in December 2017 by the Japanese government, and on Wednesday it celebrated the day for the first time. Truth be told, the Japanese are big consumers of coffee. They have been buying coffee from Jamaica since 1953.
Celebration for the day included promotional activities undertaken by various coffee shops and stores in provinces across Japan.
Some may argue that it is not surprising that a Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Day was celebrated in that country given that Japan is the largest buyer of JBM green coffee beans, which currently account for over 70% of sales. Commenting on the significance of the partnership, Marlene Porter, Manager of Agri-business at JAMPRO said the JBM Coffee Day represents a key promotional activation in Japan to build greater awareness of the brand, especially among millennials and Generation Z.
“Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Jamaica Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA) and the Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association (JCEA) have collaborated to promote the consumption of JBM Coffee on that day locally among Jamaicans and visitors to the island,” Porter informed adding that the partners will be working together beyond the day to develop a far-reaching strategy for the global promotion and positioning of the brand.
Last December, Jamaica’s Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen declared January 9th as Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Day. In observance of the special day, there were several activities planned across Jamaica including Café Blue and Cannonball providing discounts on Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee beverages. Starbucks offered tastings of Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee beverages at all their locations in Jamaica and Jamaica Standard Products offered discounts on its Island Blue coffee products at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. JAMPRO also celebrated the day by setting up a station in its Lobby at the Head Office and served Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee. Team members from JAMPRO also visited several participating coffee shops with JBM Coffee tastings being done at the Government offices in the United States, Canada and Japan.
Japan’s 65-year-old love affair with the Jamaican brew has benefited local farmers significantly. Records indicate that 80% of the export to Japan is grown by small farmers with over 2500 small farmers of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee benefiting from the trading relationship between both countries.
“Coffee production has had a significant impact on the incomes of many families and continues to contribute significantly to their well-being,” Porter disclosed. Although in recent times there has been a reduction in the price of coffee paid to local farmers as the level of the stockpile of Japanese buyers remain high, JAMPRO, JACRA and JCEA are collaborating on the development of a strategy in support of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee encompassing growing, production and export of the product.
“The Japanese market remains the major market for Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee and it is expected that it will continue to hold this position over many years. The buyers in that market continue to develop strategies to grow this market even further including the celebration of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee day,” Porter shared on the vibrancy of the market there.
On January 4th, partner agencies JAMPRO, JACRA and JCEA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a formal framework that will guide the organisations’ collaboration in developing a promotional campaign and marketing strategy in support of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee and Jamaica High Mountain Coffee. The parties have committed to executing a five-year strategic plan to bolster production, promotion and export of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee.