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Jamaica: hurricane knocks out immediate potential of new plant.

Jamaica: Hurricane knocks out immediate potential of new plant

When the $29M (Jamaican) central grading and finishing plant at Tarentum, Salt River, Clarendon is completed, it will have no coffee to process for at least three or four years, according to the Jamaican Weekly Gleaner.

This is a direct result of Hurricane Gilbert which destroyed more than 50 percent of coffee plantations islandwide on September 12, 1988.

The Tarentum plant will not meet the November 1989 completion date but the project is neither "abnormally behind schedule nor ridiculously over budget" according to Maurice Stoppi, quantity surveyor, who is monitoring its progress as a consultant to the Coffee Industry Board.

Controversy over the contract award, to Views Ltd., delayed the project for more than a year. Because of this the final cost is likely to escalate by at least 10 percent. To date, more than $12M (Jamaican) has been spent on the project.

The Tarentum plant, with an annual capacity of 7.5 million lb. of coffee, is being built as part of the Blue Mountain Coffee Expansion Project which is funded by a loan of $204M (Jamaican) from the Japanese government. The intention is to process all lowland and high mountain coffee at Tarentum, leaving the expanded Marcus Garvey facility in Kingston, to process Blue Mountain Coffee.

The Marcus Garvey plant can handle more than 8.5 million lb. a year annually. Until coffee plantations which were hit by the hurricane are restored and expanded it is going to be underused.

"High-level" talks between the Jamaican and Japanese Governments are in progress, aimed at restoring and expanding coffee production. A major priority now is to provide realistic crop insurance, industry spokesmen said. Japan buys 95 percent of Jamaica's coffee exports but Jamaican coffee accounts for only one percent of Japan's coffee imports.
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Title Annotation:Hurricane Gilbert
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jun 1, 1989
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