Saturday, May 31, 2003

Bob Geldof gets the famine-coffee connection in Ethiopia, too: "There's always been drought in the south but it didn't mean famine because people there were rich enough to buy food because of the coffee crop. But because their income has dropped so much they are now in near-starvation."

As Paul Vallely summarizes, "There is a solution. Rich nations place import tariffs on coffee. These increase with every stage of coffee processing, to discourage Africans from doing anything except export the raw beans. France has proposed a cut in the tariffs but America is refusing to have any high-level meetings to discuss it."

Will the world buy fair trade coffee, or choose a band-aid approach instead, only to revisit this issue in another 10-20 years??

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