This week Starbucks ceo Jim Donald and his executive team had positive meetings with African coffee farmers, producers and government officials in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia. In particular during the meetings in Ethiopia, Starbucks and government officials discussed the government's initiative to protect its specialty coffee names. The parties used these meetings as the first step in developing a solution. Starbucks fully supports the premise that any protection of specialty coffee names in Ethiopia should benefit Ethiopian coffee farmers.
"We were grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Melese Zenawi to talk about how we can work together on initiatives that will benefit coffee farmers," said Jim Donald, Starbucks president and ceo. "We believe the meeting was very cooperative and productive and we are committed to working with the Ethiopian government to find a solution that supports the Ethiopian coffee farmer."
As stated in the press release issued on Nov. 29, 2006 by the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office, "both parties agreed to cooperate and work together in the protection and use of the Intellectual Property Rights of Ethiopia's specialty coffee names and for Starbucks to promote high quality Ethiopian coffees."
For more detailed information about Starbucks relationship with Ethiopian coffee farmers, please visit www.starbucks.com/aboutus/pressdesc.asp?id=713.