Colombian coffee farmers on Monday asked that their government subsidies continue in response to dragging prices as a strong peso and tough growing conditions have dealt harsh blows to the industry.
“Coffee farming is not viable at current price levels, and for that reason it requires government support,” said Luis Genaro Muñoz, the manager of Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC).
The guild demanded a fixed price at no less than $367 per 275 pounds of raw coffee that will cover the costs of production. Additionally, farmers asked for an extension of the income support fund (AIC), which was set up in late 2012 to help farmers maintain production during last years’s hostile price environment.
The issues are set to be discussed this week within various national coffee federation committees.
Ministry of Agriculture Juan Camilo Restrepo called the decline in Colombia coffee production in 2012 “troubling and disappointing” and that improvement in 2013 is “urgently required.” His statements came amidst an appreciating peso, which in turn dramatically chopped down Colombia coffee’s price competitiveness.
Early this year, Communications Director Luis Fernando Samper told Colombia Reports that the country was not the only coffee-producing country that was suffering from the international price drought, which experienced a price fall of 26% in 2012.
Colombia’s coffee industry suffered in 2012 after missing year-end production targets due to torrential rains. Of the funds invested into the coffee industry, 75% come directly from the Colombian government.