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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 18:45 GMT
Starbucks in African coffee moves
Starbucks coffee shop
Starbucks says it wants to help Ethiopian farmers
Starbucks plans to double purchases of East African coffee in the next two years and increase credit to farmers in the region to improve bean quality.

Starbucks' Dub Hay said they would also set up a Farmers Support Centre, and have pledged to offer $1m in micro finance to farmers in the region.

Starbucks bought $294m of coffee last year and 6% was from Africa. Mr Hay says that will double to 12% by 2009.

Starbucks has been in a trademark row with Ethiopia over the past few months.

Meetings

The Ethiopian Government wants to trademark three of its coffees in America - Sidamo, Harar and Yirgacheffe names.

Charity Oxfam has claimed Starbucks is blocking Ethiopia's bid to get the trademarks, by influencing the National Coffee Association in the US.

The allegation has been denied by Starbucks, which says it has farmers interests at heart but does not believe trademarks will help.

Starbucks say helping growers to improve the quality and quantity of their coffee is the best way to ensure farmers get a better price for their product.

Mr Hay has been having meetings with the Ethiopian officials to try and improve relations between the firm and government.




SEE ALSO
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