Women accessing high-value niche markets in Jamaica

Vibrant reggae music, athletic prowess, flavoursome food and white sandy beaches are perhaps what Jamaica is best known for. Also coffee – but not so much the organic version. For over 20 years, Dorienne Rowan-Campbell has been working hard to change that.

After several postings around the world, the now retired international development consultant returned to Jamaica in 1992 to revive her father’s untended coffee farm located in Portland, in the famed Blue Mountains. She had no farming experience whatsoever, but that did not deter her.

“I didn’t know anything about farming except that I loved the farm,” she recalls. “Everybody I spoke with about growing coffee said I needed a big drum to mix pesticides. I said no, I have been working in sustainable development, and that is not what I want to do.”

Rowan-Campbell’s insistence on not using pesticides led her to research organic alternatives for her crop. Her experiments and numerous proven solutions include the use of garlic spray to stop the spread of the fungus coffee rust. She shares her findings with other farmers she connects with through the Jamaica Organic Agriculture Movement (JOAM).

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