THE Co-op Movement is being urged to lend its weight to a campaign to encourage millions of Britons to view a new film highlighting the shameful treatment of Ethiopian coffee farmers by the global coffee industry.
Black Gold, a feature-length documentary which tells the inspiring story of the ongoing struggle by Tadesse Meskela (pictured above with the Prime Minister), manager of the Oromia Coffee Farmers' Co-operative Union, to secure a fair price for the 74,000 farmers the organisation represents is being released in the UK in April.
But a number of Parliamentarians and Co-op Party activists saw a preview screening of this immensely thought-provoking and powerful film at a special event organised by the Co-operative Parliamentary Group at Portcullis House, Westminster.
Afterwards, the Group's Chair, Andy Reed MP, told the News: "Black Gold demonstrates just how unfair the global trading system has become in that farmers producing some of the highest quality coffee in the world cannot make enough money to feed their families.
"The film also illustrates the positive role co-ops can play in driving forward development and protecting the rights of the poorest people in the world. I hope as many people as possible will go and see the film when it is released in April ? and I hope they will be inspired to make better choices about what they buy and to challenge the rules of international trade that are, quite simply, unjust."
In the film, Ethiopian coffee farmers are asked by Mr Meskela how much they think coffee retails for in the West ? and are astonished to learn that a kilo earns around 230 dollars, though producers rarely achieve 23 cents per kilo.