Ethiopia is said to be the place where the coffee bean originated, but coffee growers are being denied the benefits of their crops. Starbucks coffee outlet has an annual turnover representing three quarters that of Ethiopia’s economy. As the ordinary citizen of southern Africa is denied much of the benefit of mineral wealth, so the farmer loses out to business interests of the developed world.
Oxfam has accused Starbucks of attempting to block Ethiopia‘s attempts to patent the names of the coffee produced in that country in the U.S. which would be worth a substantial amount to Ethiopia’s producers.
Fair Trade has been taken up in some quarters with the Co-operative Movement becoming involved sometimes with the support of local authorities such as Birmingham and Derby where Fair Trade Coffee is served to staff and visitors.