Multinational coffee companies now rule our shopping malls and supermarkets and dominate the industry worth over $80 billion, making coffee the most valuable trading commodity in the world after Big Oil. But while we continue to pay for our lattes and cappuccinos, the price paid to coffee farmers remains so low that many have been forced to abandon their coffee fields. Nowhere is this paradox more evident than in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee.
One Ethiopian, Tadesse Meskela, is a man on a mission to save his 74,000 struggling coffee farmers from bankruptcy. As his farmers strive to harvest some of the highest quality coffee beans on the international market, he travels the world in an attempt to find buyers willing to pay a fair price. While the coffee trade is vital to the politics, survival, and economies of many developing nations, the industry's pricing and futures are decided in conference rooms and on stock exchange floors in some of the world's wealthiest cities. Tadesse's story shows how Fair Trade certification is able to help the coffee farmers of Ethiopia.