30 Oct 2006

Tell Starbucks to give Ethiopian farmers their fair share

Starbucks - raking in the billions.For every cup of coffee sold by coffee chain stores, poor farmers in coffee-growing countries like Ethiopia only earn about 3 cents. Yet the coffee industry makes billions of dollars – Starbucks alone has already made more than $5.8 billion in net revenue this year.

To give its 15 million farmers a better cut of the profit, the Ethiopian government has asked Starbucks to sign a licensing agreement that recognises Ethiopia’s legal trademark ownership over its most famous coffee names – Sidamo, Harar and Yirgacheffe. Ethiopia wants to determine an export price on their coffees that makes sure farmers see a fairer share of the profits. Despite its much-publicised “commitments” to farming communities, Starbucks has not taken Ethiopia’s request seriously and has used the US legal system to block it.

ABC News article

Why is it important?

By owning the rights to its fine coffee names, Ethiopia can help its farmers negotiate a better price, potentially increasing income for the country’s coffee industry by an estimated $88 million a year. This would help lift millions of hard-working farmers and their families out of poverty, helping them to send their children to school and access healthcare.

Ask Starbucks to sign this agreement with Ethiopia by sending a message to CEO Jim Donald.


  • Cait
    November 2, 2006 Reply

    So, do you think the extra bucks will make its way to the farmers or just go into the pockets of higher up government officials?

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