Farmers end strike in southwest Colombia, but remain skeptical of government

(Photo: Taringa)

Farmers currently negotiating with the government have ended strikes in the southwest of Colombia on Monday after coming to an agreement with the government.

The talks, led by the ministers of Agriculture and Interior, discussed grievances held by the farmers in Huila and led to an agreement on the refinancing of loans, subsequently ending the agricultural strike in the region which began on April 28.

MORE: Agricultural strikes confirmed after deal between protesters and Colombia’s government fails

Farmers in Huila accepted the proposal to refinance loans for small producers and have granted an 8 day window for a plan to reduce the cost of inputs to be given by the Minstry of Agriculture.

It is estimated that the agricultural credit relief will cost over $94 million.

According to Iragorri, “Farming leaders have taken the unilateral decision to lift participation in the strike until the government meets the commitments and reviews the points made in meetings held in recent days. This means that there will be a meeting next Tuesday and a monitoring committee is to be created between the central government and farmers to verify agreements made.”

Iragorri tweeted a picture of the meeting being held before sending out a later message that read “Good news for Colombia. As of this moment, farmers in Huila are no longer part of the agricultural strike.”


The farmers themselves did not show to be as enthusiastic about progress made in the negotiations and told W Radio Tuesday that the lifting of the strike in Huila was a “sign of good will,” but the farmers remain skeptical about the government’s credibility in the negotiations.

The strike summit was also attended by delegates from the United Nations. 

According to Agricultural Minister Ruben Dario Lizarralde, 85,500 farmers with overdue loans will receive a financial lifeline of 10 years to pay off their debts without interest.

MORE: Rural strikes continue as govt and farmers reach deal on refinancing debt.

These agricultural strikes came after agreements made after strikes in February and August of 2013 were not followed through by the Colombian government. They have proved violent with 61 policemen and 66 farmers injured in clashes between the protesters and authorities, according to Iragorri.

Protests still continue on in other parts of Colombia. 



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