Black Gold

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movieBlack Gold Analysis Wade Popel

Black gold examines the coffee supply chain and follows it back to its origin, Ethiopia, which is the biggest coffee producer in Africa. Ethiopia is also the birthplace of coffee. Harvested and drank for thousands of years, Ethiopia produces some of the world's finest coffee beans. Yet, despite the rise of the coffee industry over the last decade, Ethiopian coffee farmers still struggle to feed their families. There are 15 million Ethiopians who depend on coffee for their livelihood. The movie follows Tadesse Meskela for some time, he is the general manager of Oromia Coffee Farmers, which is a coffee co-op that represents 74,000 coffee farmers in the Ethiopia. In the documentary Meskela shows us the process the coffee beans go through before they leave Ethiopia. Co-ops are common in Ethiopia and in the coffee industry; their job is to bargain power to farmers who are often undercut by coffee buyers. The needs of all the farmers and families are looked after by the co-op, while each farm worker owns a share of what is collectively earned. Often, the co-op can only do enough to keep it's members barely fed, let alone afford luxuries such as health care, education, clothing and clean water. The movie directors often cut back to the hardships in Ethiopia. When Meskela tells the coffee farmers that a cup of coffee is $2.90. The farmers react with disbelief and even amusement at the idea of paying more for a cup of coffee than 10 kilos of beans. And then Meskela tells the farmers that one kilogram of coffee beans is used to produce 80 cups of coffee in the western world, the farmers are stunned into silence. The farmers are speechless as they realize that their hard work and suffering has been exploited for profit. This brutally unfair trade crisis is the result of price fixing in western countries such as New York and London. The western countries are taking the farmers advantage of, forcing them to...
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