The Colombian government, farmers, Afro-Colombians, and indigenous groups have created a dialogue table that seeks to improve the living conditions of rural and minority communities.
With more than 650 participants from the Agrarian Summit, a leftist coalition of social organizations, political parties, and unions, the table is meant to be a “space of dialogue” between the groups and the government, according to press release on the ministry’s website.
Among the items up for discussion are access to land, productive projects, and human rights. The heads of the Ministry of Interior, Agriculture, Finance, and Mining are among the government officials who are attend the dialogues.
The agreement to the table came as momentum was building earlier this year for a national agrarian strike which included farmers, miners, and truckers. Strike leaders said that they were protesting the government’s failure to comply with commitments made from a previous strike in 2013.
Grievances included unfavorable international prices, debt, and high fertilizer and transport costs.
After ongoing talks between the protesting agriculture sector and the government, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos sanctioned a new law last August which was to provide financing to farmers and “reactivate” Colombia’s agricultural sector.
This new table of dialogue will be known as the “Mesa Unica,” or the Single Table, and will inaugurated at the National Center for Historic Memory, a government-financed conflict research group.
- Gobierno Nacional y Cumbre Agraria instalan mañana Mesa Única de participación y concertación (Ministry of Interior’s website)