Colombia’s Finance Minister said on Wednesday that the government can not give more subsidies to the coffee farmers, who threaten to go on strike in August as promised subsidies were allegedly never received.
“I have made clear commitments to get money for the PIC (Coffee Income Protection Program),” said the Minister of Finance Mauricio Cardenas in a statement. “I have fulfilled my obligations,” referring to funds promised to the sector after a massive coffee strike earlier this year.
Victor Correa, one of the coffee growers’ strike organizers, told Colombia Reports that coffee farmers do not expect the government to provide subsidies beyond the agreements that have already been agreed with the government.
“The issue is not more subsidies,” Correa said. “The issue is that the subsidies from previous agreements have not made it to the farmers yet.”
That is why coffee farmers across Colombia recently announced that they will re-ignite a strike on August 19th. Coffee industry activities are set to halt, according to strike organizers.
In February, 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.”
- ‘Los cafeteros son personas que no se dejan a manipular’: MinHacienda (Ministry of Finance)
- No hay más dinero para subsidiar a los cafeteros (El Espectador)
- Interview with Victor Correa, Coffee Grower Strike Organizer