Colombia’s Coffee Federation (Fedecafe) has reportedly announced that it will pay the the remaining aid stipends to coffee farmers who applied for them before the end of the 2013, reported Caracol Radio on Sunday.
This moves comes less than a week before planned coffee farmer strikes. Fedecafe will reportedly pay the remaining 74,000 coffee farmers who were found to be eligible for government assistance after applying for the stipends during the month of December last year.
Agrarian discontent in August last year led to major national strikes last year that resulted in violence and disruption across Colombia. Five people were killed in clashes with the police, 458 people were injured and highways and roads were closed down around the country.
As part of the deal to end the strikes, the Colombian government created a Coffee Income Protection (PIC) plan that agreed to pay stipends to coffee farmers if internal coffee prices fell below about $350 for a 275 pound bag of coffee. Coffee Grower’s Dignity spokesman Victor Correa told Colombia Reports this is roughly the point where coffee price meets the production costs for coffee growers.
Since then, according to Caracol Radio, the Colombian government has reportedly already paid $500 million to Colombia’s coffee farmers in accordance with the PIC.
Coffee growers announced earlier this year an intent to strike once again on April 28 because they say the government has failed to carry out six of the seven terms agreed upon following the strikes last year.
One of the major complaints coffee farmers had, according to a spokesman for the Coffee Grower’s Dignity (Dignidad Cafetera), was that only 80% of coffee farmers received the PIC assistance they had been promised. Sunday’s announcement that Fedecafe will pay the remaining claims came a week before the planned strikes and could be an attempt to show good will towards the coffee growers.
The planned strikes planned for April 28 will start less than a month before presidential elections and may force incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos to make concessions to coffee growers in order to avoid major strikes.
- Fedecafé se pondrá al día con pago de ayudas a cafeteros de 2013 (Caracol Radio)
- Sala de Prensa (Fedecafe)