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Topic: black gold movie (7 msgs / 197 lines)
1) From: Michael Dhabolt
CNN just had a short clip interviewing the producer of the movie "
Black Gold".  Movie seems to be oriented toward the 'slave wage'
plight of small growers.  Pretty interesting short 'Talking Heads'
type interview.
Web site:http://blackgoldmovie.com/Mike (just plain)

2) From: Vince Doss
On 6/9/06, Michael Dhabolt  wrote:
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 Wow! This is awesome. The blog page is pretty telling about *$ and other
corporate monsters.
Vince

3) From: rwh
Vince Doss wrote:
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If you pick up a copy of Mark Pendergrast's 'Uncommon Grounds' its
pretty clear that the problem has always been that there are far more
people trying to make a living growing coffee than can be supported by
the coffee market. Its been that way for the last 100 years and is
likely to stay that way until supply is cut back - its simple economics.
BTW, banging on folks like Kraft (Maxwell House), P&G (Folgers), Nestle
(Nescafe) and their ilk will do far more to impact the plight of coffee
growers than demonizing *$ who only buys $250M worth of coffee a year.
Here's a link to a 2002 WSJ article on the subject,http://www.organicconsumers.org/starbucks/coffee-beans.cfm--rick

4) From: Les
Rick,
I would disagree with Mark Pendergrast's 'Uncommon Grounds' premise
"Its pretty clear that the problem has always been that there are far more
people trying to make a living growing coffee than can be supported by
the coffee market. Its been that way for the last 100 years and is
likely to stay that way until supply is cut back - its simple economics."
I would say it is ignorance.  People are willing to settle for swill
and the big boys will continue to pump it out.  OH how we get out of
shape when a CoE brings in $50.00 a pound!  Just think what the big
boys are thinking!  I am sure they are shell shocked!   If the word
ever gets out, and people experience coffee from a homeroaster or a
place like Barefoot Roasters or Stumptown, the dregs will be sitting
in the warehouses of the world and the farmers who grow good coffee
are going to be making a good living.  Can you imagine what the farmer
at Hacienda Verde (fictitious name) down the road from Hacienda la
Esmeralda is thinking.  "Why should I be growing all this second rate
coffee at less than a buck a pound when I could be getting 400% plus
or more for it with a little extra care and enter the CoE?"  Good bye
Folgers, Maxwell House and Star Bucks!!!  ripping off the farmer.  No
the real problem is dishonest greedy multinational companies and
consumers that will settle for swill!
Les
On 6/9/06, rwh  wrote:
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5) From: rwh
Les,
History is history and it is rife with countries, primarily Brazil and
sometimes Columbia, unsuccessfully trying to run cartels or finance
price maintenance agreements to deal with excess coffee supply. IIRC,
Pendergrast points to the large volume of crappy coffee coming out of
Brazil as driving the problem.
Even if we are able to educate people tastes to demand better coffee you
just shift the poverty from those folks who can grow good coffee, but
don't get a 'fair' price, to those who grow robusta or bad arabica beans
due to location, soil, weather, etc. If Folgers starts buying better
beans they'll stop buying lesser beans to the detriment of those growers.
Coffee seems like a terrible crop to grow if you're poor. You have to
invest a couple of years of time and money before you see the first crop
and then you're a bit player in a $40B global market. If Brazil has a
freeze you may do well, if not, you probably won't even break even. It
seems like a terrible way to make a living if you don't have the capital
to carry you through the bad times.
--rick
Les wrote:
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6) From: Vince Doss
On 6/9/06, rwh  wrote:
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I think Pendergrast points to Vietnam as the latest culprit of producing
crappy coffee and blames the World Bank for funding it, but it is still the
roast and grind companies that are buying it and polluting the market with
it.
Even if we are able to educate people tastes to demand better coffee you
<Snip>
So are you suggesting that we just accept the status quo? Where is your
spirit man?
I say we tell the corps to go to hell, and find the coffee that we like and
support the growers growing it.
Coffee seems like a terrible crop to grow if you're poor.
Growing any crop is terrible if your poor...Most farmers ARE poor even in
America, they just have access to government subsidies that keeps them
afloat.
<Snip>
Exactly! That is why we should support Fair Trade farmers that are willing
to struggle to meet the requirements for Fair Trade Certification, so that
they will have the capital to make it through the bad times.
I think the movie is highlighting, the struggles of Tadesse Meskela* *as he
tries to get a fair price for the coffee his country produces and the global
hurdles he faces. My original note about *$'s was just in context of what
the producers said, that they tried to get their participation before making
the film and were ignored only to have them come out of the woodwork to put
their corporate spin/warm fuzzy on how they are all about the little man.
*$s proves Fair Trade is big business
We should all take the Starbucks Challenge:http://www.organicconsumers.org/Starbucks/index.htmCheers,
Vince
--rick
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7) From: rwh
Vince Doss wrote:
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There's a good history of the world coffee market and the issues of fair
trade athttp://www.adamsmith.org/pdf/groundsforcomplaint.pdfThe
analysis is free market but its worth reading the first 5 or 6 pages
just for the background on global coffee markets.
Even though Viet Nam is the 3rd largest coffee producer, the increase in
Brazilian coffee production in 2002 was more than the largest annual
crop for Viet Nam. The Brazilians are also much more automated than most
other producing counties. The other producers who couldn't compete in
the commodity coffee market and either moved into specialty coffee or
went out of business.
<Snip>
I doubt that there is anyone on this list who hasn't effectively done
that already. We certainly don't roast our own coffee to save money, and
 I suspect that we're all willing to pay a premium to make sure we have
a good selection of beans in the future. Yet the big four sell tens of
billions of dollars worth of stale canned ground coffee every year. That
is where change has to occur if you want to have an impact.
<Snip>
I don't know what SM margins are but I would guess that they're paying
at or above the $1.26/lb required by Fair Trade even if their suppliers
haven't all bothered to become certified. They also seem to have
personal relationships with a number of their suppliers and I would be
shocked if most of those suppliers didn't meet the spirit of Free Trade,
certified or not.
I don't remember the exact numbers but the last time I looked at SBUX
10-K I think they were paying close to the FT price for their long-term
contracts. Coffee is such a small part of the cost of running Starbucks
that it doesn't make sense to cut costs there. If they really wanted to
cut costs they wouldn't provide health insurance for all of their
half-time or better employees.
<Snip>
I don't know that having a PR department qualifies as being a corporate
monster :-) I'll keep an eye out for the movie if it makes it to the
Twin Cities.
--rick


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