Colombia’s national government has vowed to increase aid to the country’s troubled coffee sector with $443 million, said the country’s finance minister Friday.
According to Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas, government negotiators agreed to the increase of aid after coffee workers went on strike for ten days, causing gasoline shortages in the south of the country and began to threaten food security in Colombia’s entire territory.
In an interview with radio station Blu Radio, Cardenas said the aid would be paid for with income generated by a new equity tax measure that came into power at the beginning of the year.
“This is temporary aid to help the coffee sector overcome a period of dropping production and low prices. However, they can not depend permanently on government aid. The reached agreements will not continue after 2013,” the minister told the radio station.
The coffee growers, who had rejected earlier proposals that according to them would not close the gap between production costs and market value, said the government and strikers had come to an “excellent agreement” that allows the growers to produce coffee without suffering chronic losses, reported newspaper El Espectador.
The strike and public protests suring which roads were blocked had disrupted Colombia’s road transport severely. Violence used by police to break up the road blocks caused massive indignation among Colombians on social media.
The strike had been lifted early Friday already, but the content of the agreement between government and coffee growers was not immediately made public. During the strike, at least one woman was killed while dozens of strikers were injured in clashes with security forces.
- El café debe ser viable, llevamos 100 años de caficultura: ministro de Hacienda (Blu Radio)
- Los costos del paro cafetero (El Espectador)