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Black Gold, directed by brothers Marc and Nick Francis, reveals the shocking truth about the coffee industry and the crippling poverty facing coffee farmers worldwide.
The film shows workers in southern Ethiopia harvesting coffee beans and then packaging and shipping them off for the rest of the world to enjoy. Tadesse Meskela represents the Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-op Union and is our key protagonist in the film – we join him on a mission to find buyers willing to pay a fair price that may save his farmers from bankruptcy. We see the efforts of the coffee companies to support their workers and the struggles of the growers to support their families on unbearably low wages.
Against this backdrop, the marketing and retail sectors of some of the largest coffee conglomerates in the world are featured with their perceptions of the business. The coffee industry is now worth more than $80 billion worldwide, yet Ethiopian workers earn less than 50 cents per day for their labour. These are just some of the facts presented by Black Gold that cause us to sit up and smell the coffee. While we continue to pay top dollar for our designer lattes and espressos the price paid to coffee farmers remains so low that many rely on foreign aid from the very countries refusing to pay fair prices for their products.
Black Gold is an caffeine-infused look at the coffee industry – a booming industry that is essentially unfair to its primary producers. The Francis brothers have captured the beauty of Ethiopia and the people who live and work there in this stunning film as they lead us, the audience, to think twice as we stare into the morning coffee we take for granted and to ask ourselves what more can be done.