Colombia’s coffee farmers on Thursday announced to resume massive strikes that were suspended earlier this year after government concessions to help the iconic sector. According to the farmers, Bogota failed to keep its word on made agreements.
Following a meeting in Quindio, a city in the heart of Colombia’s coffee region, the farmers decided to suspend activities on August 19 in order to force the government to keep promises made regarding subsidies and other measures to support the farmers who claim major losses in the production of one of Colombia’s most famous export products.
Victor Correa, one of the organizers of the strike, told Colombia Reports that lowered coffee prices have caused “a tragedy for the entire sector, not just for the small and medium-sized producers.”
Subsidies promised by the government after approximately 90,000 coffee farmers went on strike never reached the farmers, Guillermo Gaviria of the Movement for the Defense of Colombia’s Coffee Growers told Spanish press agency EFE.
According to Gaviria, the government “failed to explain the farmers how to get access to this aid.” Morover, Gavira told EFE, the government has failed to show “political will” to resolve the issues plaguing the industry.
In a response, Agriculture Minister Francisco Estupiñan told reporters in Bogota the strike was “unjustified.”
“The government has a clear will to sit down, and talk and discuss the problems, but doesn’t accept pressure or blocks,” said the minister.
According to the coffee farmers, other agricultural sectors like those growing rice, potatoes, cocoa, cotton, milk and sugar are considering to join the coffee strike.
The strike announcement came on the day the government began talks with striking farmers that have locked down the northeast of the country.