Bitter drink

Published: Wednesday 15 November 2006

A still from Black Gold Coffee Trade Ethiopia

Black Gold, which opened to rave reviews in the us and was premiered at the recent Times BFI London Film Festival, has spurred Ethiopia to demand urgent reform in international trade relations with Africa. The documentary exposes how the us $ 80-billion dollar global coffee industry reaps the spoils of overpriced lattes and cappuccinos while impoverished Ethiopian farmers suffer the bitter tastes of injustice. It demonstrates how sundry buyers, roasters and multinational corporations (all of whom refused interviews) such as Sara Lee, Kraft, Procter & Gamble and Starbucks, make vast amounts compared with the Ethiopian farmers' take.

Black Gold began production in 2003, when film-makers Marc Francis and Nick Francis learned that Ethiopia was facing another food crisis. "We were alarmed that coffee farmers supplying some of the largest corporations in the world were digging up their coffee trees, and then waiting for food aid. We wanted to make a film that forced us, western consumers, to question some of our basic assumptions about our lifestyle and its interaction with the rest of the world."

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