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Starbucks to Double East African Coffee Purchases

The U.S. coffee chain Starbucks says it will double its purchases of coffee from East Africa over the next two years.

Starbucks' senior vice president of coffee procurement, Dub Hay, made the announcement during a regional coffee growers' conference in Ethiopia Thursday.

The chain now buys a little more than eight million kilograms of coffee from East Africa each year.

Starbucks also announced it will help small East African coffee growers by providing $1 million in loans through non-government organizations. The company says it also plans to open a farmer advice center.

These announcements come amid a dispute between Starbucks and Ethiopia over the trademarking of certain coffees. The British charity Oxfam accuses Starbucks of denying Ethiopia up to $90 million per year by blocking its bid to trademark the Sidamo and Harar coffee beans.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.