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COFFEE WAR: ETHIOPIA VS. STARBUCKS [Abstract ID: 1205-18]
While many Starbucks coffee drinkers prefer their double espresso or their Venti Latte, they often miss a shot of morning social injustice. This success has allowed consumers to get their ‘morning fixes’ with a safe conscience that no one has been exploited to give them this luxury. Like many developing nations, Ethiopia relies heavily on the trade of primary goods. Coffee is considered Ethiopia’s largest export, which generates sixty percent of its total export earnings. Sidamo, Ethiopia’s most famous coffee is “closely tied to the culture and society of Ethiopia, and an estimated fifteen million people are directly or indirectly involved in the Ethiopian coffee industry today." (Coffee trade 1) Being that this country is known for its unique flavors and reputation, it commands a heavy retail within the markets, particularly coffee stores. However, the issue arises when internationally acclaimed projects or markets creates an uneven distribution with the farmers. “It is estimated that only five to ten percent of the retail price actually goes back to Ethiopia; most of the middlemen in the marketing sectors.” (Coffee trade 1) In many first world countries, America for example, a cup of coffee is sold on average for four dollars a cup, while farmers receive only a small fraction of this. When this happens, farmers are forced to abandon their field and grow narcotic plants, which for them are more profitable. Worst, they may take alternative measures, many, which has been detrimental. Despite being a country that has never been colonized, Ethiopia faces a great economic downfall, making it one of the poorest and least developed countries within the African continent; giving one of four people employment.
This paper will examine the history of coffee in Ethiopia, how it gets produced and the effect it has on trade and environment. Furthermore, this paper will give an in depth analyses on the problem of coffee trade between Starbucks and Ethiopia using relativistic and holistic perspectives, as well as the role anthropology should play in solving this coffee war.