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Black Gold

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Ethiopia was the birthplace of the domestic coffee industry. Today, Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world with a high volume of poverty and hunger throughout the country. Black Gold, takes us into the Ethiopian coffee industry and how this impacts the land, people and economy of the country. This documentary sheds light on the growing problem of global trade for coffee and the increasing tense relationships between coffee farmers and giant food corporations. The living conditions that Ethiopian people endure demonstrate the harsh reality of the poor country and the benefits of coffee farming for citizens. Many Ethiopian farmers rely on the coffee market as their source of income to provide for their family. Black gold provides us with information on what we as U.S. citizens, can do to better the life in Ethiopia by influencing trade, the environment and human rights in Ethiopia for the future.

Ethiopia is the largest producer of coffee in Africa. 15 million people in Ethiopia depend on coffee for their survival. Coffee was once regulated by the International Coffee Agreement but since its collapse in 1989 it is at a 30 year low. This low price for coffee allows co-operatives to buy coffee from Ethiopian farmers union and sell to large corporations such as Nestle and Kraft. They then take those profits and provide a dividend to pay the farmers. Tadesse Meskela, the representative of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, is the middle man between the coffee farmers and the co-operations that buy the coffee to sell to the large corporations. He explains that for the farmers in Ethiopia to increase their profits the market for coffee needs to rise allowing for corporations to be able to buy coffee at a higher price and still being able to sell it and make a profit. But because of the low market value of coffee, the price will not rise until they can figure out a way to raise the value.

Ethiopia depends highly on the coffee industry to provide them with money, so they can survive in such a poor country. Women who work to pick bad coffee beans get paid about fifty cents for a full 8-hour workday. Tadesse Maeskela says that the main goal of the union is to bring more money into the pocket of their farmers so that they can live a better life and provide for their families. Ethiopian farmers have not been getting a fair worth for their hard work trapping many families in the hardships of poverty. Many families cannot send their children to school because they need them to help on the farms, so they can produce more crops to maximize their profits. Ethiopia cannot compete in the world market to sell coffee because the have no subsids that are set buy the rich countries such as the UK and the U.S.

7 million people in Ethiopia depended of emergency aid for outside sources like the U.S. and Europe. Ordinary coffee consumers around the world, just like us can help to influence trade, improve the environment and



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