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Film Black Gold

Essay by   •  March 13, 2013  •  Essay  •  553 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,382 Views

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Summary of Black Gold

In the documentary film, Black Gold, we see the reality of coffee production and the whole supply chain of the field. From the story followed by the efforts of an Ethiopian Coffee Union manager as he travels the world to obtain a better price for his workers' coffee beans. The film tells the life of those coffee planting farmers in Ethiopia and make us aware of the poverty there and the unfairness of trades between developed and poor countries.

I still remember the scene of the beginning, a local government staff asks the coffee farmers how much do they think one cup of coffee is, and one farmer's answer is 30 cents. After the staff tell them the exact price is 3 dollars, all of farmers turn into speechless. One of them breaks the silence of the atmosphere, "Why can't we even make a good living from coffee planting?"

The question comes.

When we enjoy our life with benefits from international trade, for instance, the whole world is consuming the coffee beans from Ethiopia, but those farmers who live in the lowest class of the world are suffering from pains in their daily life. They cannot earn sufficient money to provide children with education and have to work all the day long. As they even fail to get one tenth of the money cost of a cup of coffee, the happiness is gone away. Through the film, we see the reality of a poor community- working hard doesn't' always mean paying back.

The film provides us with information about the whole supply chain of coffee. For the world-wide coffee industry, the right to determine prices is controlled by brokers in New York Security Exchange and big buyers among the world. The four biggest companies, Kraft, Nestle, Proctor& Gamble and Sara Lee, control more than 70% trades of coffee beans. They don't buy the product from farmers, but receive from those commissioners and intermediary companies. Then they sell coffee beans to the world in financial derivative market to gain a good profit. Each intermediary trade brings a plus cost and increases the price, then the final price of coffee is nearly10 times as the original cost of coffee beans. However, the most important issue is that farmers cannot speak up. They don't have the chance to let the world hear their voice, to see their standards of living and to experience the pain of their poverty. They are staying in the corner of the world, and their social status cannot support them to earn the fairness. The farmers of coffee beans have to accept the price offered by buyers; in the other side, the big buyers always can find a lowest price, then all the farmers are forced to surrender under pressure. When european countries hold a ceremony related to the competition of coffee taste and quality, the Ethiopian farmers are struggling with their life. The unfairness between two sides turns us to be pitiful,



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