Journal of Food Science and Agricultural Technology (JFAT)
School of Agro-Industry
Mae Fah Luang University

ISSN: 2408-1736


The Sustainable Transformation of a Specialty Coffee Supply Chain in Jamaica

Samantha D. Nelson


The specialty coffee industry has shown steady growth over the past two decades. With the emergence of new consumption patterns, specialty coffee markets have continued to expand with the incorporation of sustainably sourced coffee within their standards. This paper focuses on the specialty coffee supply chain of the Jamaica Blue Mountain green coffee, where concerns have arisen regarding the 1) socio-economic issues of its farmers, 2) inconsistent production levels and 3) the ability of the regional environment to continue supporting coffee production. As the supply chain tries to shift to more sustainable modes of production to address these concerns, it becomes imperative to identify the factors that may facilitate and prohibit these changes in the system; and to understand the relationship between said factors and the structures in which they are embedded. This study shows that the drivers of the sustainability transformation include the private interests of actors within the supply chain, technical services provided by government agencies and initiatives by non-governmental organisations. However, change may be inhibited by information regarding sustainability being asymmetrically distributed among supply chain actors, the absence of an explicit directionality of sustainability goals for the local coffee industry, and limited financial resources among smallholder coffee farmers, along with weak physical infrastructure.


Coffee; Jamaica; Political Economy; Sustainability; Transformation

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