Sinking dollar is causing hunger in Colombia

Clímaco Berrío, coffee grower in Salento, Quíndo, hardly makes enough money to feed his wife and three children. According to him the situation isn’t of the past week, but has been a problem for almost a year now. “We honestly can eat only once a day,” he said.The Quindío Association of Coffee Growers lays out the facts:  25 pounds of coffee could be sold for 60,000 pesos (US$32) a year ago , but now is worth no more than 42,000 (US$22). The production cost of 25 pounds of coffee beans is 46,000 pesos (US$24.5).Carlos Alberto Gómez of the National Federation of Coffee Growers says that, because of the revaluation of the pesos, at least 12,000 people have lost their job already and the industry has lost 50 billion pesos (US$26,7 million).The Colombian Government announced Thursday to invest 200 billion pesos in the sectors affected by the plummeting dollar, but Representative of the opposition party, Polo Democrático, Jorge Enrique Robledo, the government should try to lower the price of the peso.In Bucaramanga, Santander, the local Chamber of Commerce announced, four textile factories were forced to close there doors in the past two weeks.In the Magdalena region farmers don’t even harvest their crops and look for jobs elsewhere in order to secure food for their families. 3,000 people lost their jobs and people start stealing property from the farms to make ends meet.’The first half of this year the Government will have spent 500 billion pesos (US$267 million). We will have to see how much the second half of this year will cost,”Colombian President Álvaro Uribe said. His promise to invest 200 billion pesos (US$107 million) in the suffering sectors doesn’t seem enough to prevent a further loss of jobs.The small famers, peasants and business owners will just have to feed their families less and wait for better times.

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