(L-R) Zepheniah McKenzie says his three acres of coffee were just bearing when they went up in smoke along with banana, plantain and other fruit trees. Seventy-year-old Elsie Roberts is accompanied by her dog as she makes her way to her farm. She said this was the worst bush fire she had ever seen since living in Richmond Gap almost all her life. Farmer Ephraim Tate explains how he watched helplessly as the fire destroyed his 1,000 coffee plants
A local church body has joined the effort to rehabilitate coffee farms in the hills of St Andrew that were ravaged by bush fires in May.
Last Friday, the Church of God of Prophecy, through Bishop Rudolph Daley, donated $110,000 to the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) toward the rebuilding process.
The church also donated coffee seedlings and fertilisers to the effort.
“Most of our brethren plant coffee and other things, so we thought it necessary to pool some funds… to help build back our industry,” Daley said during the presentation at the JAS Church Street head office in downtown Kingston.
“So many times we hear that the church is not doing anything and the church is silent. We are glad that the media is here to let them know that we are doing something. And so, we in Kingston and St Andrew are going to let Jamaica know that we are a holistic organisation,” the clergyman said.
The fires that ravaged vast swaths of coffee farms across Mavis Bank are said to have cost millions of dollars in losses to farmers and the industry, which produce the world-renowned Blue Mountain Coffee.
On Friday, Norman Grant, the JAS president and CEO of Mavis Bank Coffee Factory, expressed appreciation for the donation and said the company would be providing $500,000 worth of seedlings and chemicals to farmers.
Published By: The Observer