The Colombian government on Thursday convened a meeting with coffee farmers to avoid a proposed strike scheduled for August 19.
The meeting has been arranged for July 17 and according to a statement from the ministry of agriculture, the government seeks to examine “what has and what hasn’t been fulfilled” regarding the agreements reached with unions on March 8, ending the coffee farmers first strike.
“The agreements are to meet them, and we will ensure to do that” said Vice President Angelino Garzon on Thursday, following a meeting with the guarantors of the original agreement.
The meeting on July 17 is to be held in Bogota, with the minister of agriculture Fransisco Estupinan, minister of finance Mauricio Cardenas and the interior minister Fernando Carrillo all expected to attend.
The manager of the national federation of coffee growers, Luis Genaro Munoz is also expected to attend, as are the governors of coffee growing departments.
The agricultural minister defended the government, stating “in general the government have been complying with the coffee farmers and reiterates its willingness to dialogue with those who feel affected.”
In march the government agreed to pay coffee farmers a subsidy known as the Grower Ingress Protection, which guarantees that they will not lose money with the fluctuation in grain prices.
Vicor Correa, one of the coffee strikes organizers, told Colombia Reports however that such subsidies have “not made it to the farmers yet.”
A month before, thousands of coffee farmers organized a strike that shut down transportation in departments in the South and West of the country in order to draw attention to their plight. Coffee farmers justified the strike by saying that their industry was in danger of collapse from falling international prices and rising costs of production, which squeezed farmer incomes to levels that were unfit for continued livelihood.
Though President Juan Manuel Santos and his government agreed to meet with coffee farmers in order to negotiate the extension of a pre-existing support program, the president called the strikes “unjustified.”
- GOBIERNO CONVOCA A “DIGNIDAD CAFETERA” A GRAN DIÁLOGO NACIONAL SOBRE CUMPLIMIENTO DE COMPROMISOS (Ministry of Agriculture)
- Gobierno se reunirá con integrantes de Dignidad Cafetera para evitar paro en agosto (Caracol Radio)
- Gobierno convoca diálogo nacional con gremios agrícolas para evitar paro (Expansion)
- Gobierno convoca diálogo nacional con gremios agrícolas para evitar paro (ABC)
- Interview with Victor Correa, coffee strike organiser