Colombia’s president and minister of agriculture have approved an agricultural pact in response to nationwide agrarian protests that began in August 2013.
After ongoing talks between the protesting agriculture sector and the government, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos sanctioned a new law on Thursday which will provide financing to farmers and “reactivate” Colombia’s agricultural sector.
Colombia’s farmers entered into an nationwide agrarian strike in August of last year over unfavorable international prices, debt, and high fertilizer and transport costs.
President Santos believes that the new law will “permit the increase in rural productivity with the goal of converting the rural sector into a motor for development and progress.”
Agriculture Minister Iragorri Valencia said that “the decree will permit the revision of 4,800 productive projects that have been presented by states and municipalities, a trillion pesos exist so that these plans can be executed.” The projects awaiting approval have been presented by NGOs, local governments, cooperatives, the agroindustry, and the business sector.
According to Minister Valencia, the new Agriculture legislation will:
- Refinance debts of small farmer in Colombia who owe less than $10,000.
- Start special lines of microloans for farmers, with different lines of credit for different products.
- provide $500 million dollars to execute productive agricultural projects proposed by local governments and farmer organizations.
- Formalize Corpoica, which will be the primary agricultural research and development agency. Corpoica will bring new technology and knowledge to rural areas to support farmers and increase productivity.
- Push ahead 4,800 pending agriculture projects presented by 27,000 organizations.
President Santos made the announcement of the agricultural pact from the Corpoica Research Center. Santos intends to pump money into the research center because “without Corpoica, we cannot convert the countryside into a machine of development.”
- Palabras del Presidente Juan Manuel Santos en el Centro de Investigación de Corpoica (Presidential press release)
- Con el fin del conflicto vendrá un campo productivo y próspero, afirmó el Presidente (Presidential press release)
- Gobierno presentan marco legislativo del Pacto Agrario (Ministry of Agriculture)