Up to 1942/43 Canada and to a lesser extent the United States of America were the traditional markets for Jamaica's Coffee Exports. Local Sales and Exports were in the hands of the Produce Merchants. The excessive competition between these large Exporters (Produce Dealers) reached the stage where in, an attempt to take advantage of a lucrative market they were shipping coffee that was not up to the quality of the samples which they had offered for sale. The situation grew worse and in 1943 Canadian Importers refused to purchase any further quantities of Jamaican Coffee. The minority U.S. market reacted similarly. The Coffee Exporters therefore found themselves in the position where they had large stocks in their warehouses and no market. The Second World War made it impossible for the European Market to be explored.
The Coffee Industry was of importance to the economic and social development of the island and its prosperity was a matter of considerable value in certain areas. The growers faced real hardships as the Dealers, having lost their Export Market, would not buy any further quantities of coffee from the growers. A great clamour was raised in Jamaica at the time by Agricultural interest, for the Government to do something for the Coffee Industry.
The Blue Print for the rescue of the Industry and its development was contained in the 1944 Report by Mr. AJ. Wakefield C.M.G, who was the Inspector General of Agriculture in the West Indies for Colonial Development and Welfare. Arising from the Report and in response to the pleadings of the coffee growers, the Government established the Coffee Clearing House in 1944. The Clearing House merely purchased the coffee from Dealers, cleaned, graded and exported it. Buyers were then assured of a uniform product and exports were resumed. The Clearing House continued its operations in cleaning and grading and export of the coffee purchased from the Dealers, but the coffee which was exported was not a quality product as the growers did not have the facilities to produce this type of coffee. The only way to produce a quality product was for the establishment of Coffee Factories, (Pulperies). Continuing the logical development as set out in the programme for the rehabilitation of the Industry by Mr. Wakefield, it was inevitable that the coffee growers would want to take a direct interest in the Industry rather than leave it entirely in the hands of the Produce Dealers and/or a Government Department, so Association of Coffee Growers requested the government to establish the Coffee Industry Board. The Board was finally established under Chapter 64 of the Revised Laws of Jamaica on the 2nd June, 1950. It was established to encourage the development of the Coffee Industry in Jamaica and for the promotion of the Welfare of the persons engaged therein.
The quantities of coffee exported from the island during the years 1791 – 1954 are graphically illustrated (on this site) click to view production map