Coffee farming nuh easy - Blue Mountain grower speaks

January 16, 2018

Recently, THE STAR visited coffee farms in the Hagley Gap region, an area where the residents rely heavily on the income from the fruits of their soil.

One farmer, Tashane, spoke to THE STAR about how he got started in coffee farming.

"Is a family ting. My grandfada dem start out with like thyme and scallion an dem tings deh, but dem nah sell as much as di coffee, so dem start plant coffee," he said.

He said that the average farmer can start his day from as early as 5 a.m. followed by a seven-mile hike just to reach the farm which is nestled on the hillside a few kilometres below the peak of the Blue Mountains.

The majority of the hike is along a dirt track along the hillside, which is no wider than the length of soda bottle.

After making that trek to an area known as 'Woods', it is now time to get to work.

Tashane explains that if a farmer is using fertilisers, he will have to walk with them or employ another person to bring them.

Rainfall is the main source of water for the crops, but failing that, a nearby stream closer to the start of the dirt track supplies the precious commodity.

"When nuh rain no fall, yuh affi go to di river and mek bout four trip wid di gallon spray," he said.

When it comes time to reap, persons are employed to pick the coffee and to take it from the farm back through the treacherous path to the main road.

Tashane explained to THE STAR that the coffee grown at this height gets top dollar versus the ones grown in the lower-lying areas.

"Yuh see dem coffee yah, ah di better quality, 'cause it grow up yah so. Di higher, di betta," he chuckled.

He admits that one box of coffee is now sold for $6,000, coming from prices as high as $15,000.

The work of a coffee farmer also requires patience, as a tree can take two years from being planted to bear fruit, and another three years to reach optimal yield.

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