Artists' Television Access

“Black Gold” —A story of coffee and “free” trade

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition Film Series

Thursday, June 12, 2008, 7:30 pm, $6

black gold

Black Gold traces the tangled trail from the two billion cups of coffee consumed each day back to the coffee farmers who produce the beans. It follows Tadesse Meskela—General Manager of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union—as he tries to get a living wage for the 70,000 Ethiopian coffee farmers he represents. After oil, coffee is the most actively traded commodity in the world with

$80 billion dollars in retail sales. But farmers make as little as three cents for every cup of coffee sold in the U.S. or Europe. Most of the rest of the money goes to the four giant food conglomerates which control the coffee market.

In Ethiopia, 15,000,000 people are dependent on the coffee industry; 67% of its foreign trade is in coffee. Between 2001 and 2003, when the price for coffee hit a 30 year low, farmers could no longer feed themselves, famine spread and feeding stations had to be established throughout the coffee region.

Black Gold explains how international commodities markets are rigged against the nations of the global South. Developed countries like the U.S. subsidize agricultural products, flooding the market with low-priced goods, while demanding that poor countries remove tariff barriers and open their markets. 2006, 77min.

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