Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday announced more measures to should help the country’s ailing agricultural sector.
The president announced the elimination of import tariffs on products like fertilizers and other materials used by the agricultural sectors, and the creation of a new deputy ministry for Rural Development.
The announcement came at the first meeting that was held as part of the so-called Grand National Pact, a government initiative to seek solutions for the country’s countryside.
However, the meeting was ignored by farmers’ interest groups — who have been on strike for almost a month — because according to them the agricultural federations invited to the Pact fail to represent their interest.
Instead, the farmers persisted in their strike and hope to persuade the government to implement other measures in negotiations held with the farmers’ strike organization.
A number of the decrees proposed and signed by Santos cover some of the demands of farmers in order to end their strike.
The decrees followed a range of other measures to be implemented in order to help farmers whose sector the president admitted is going through a crisis.
According to government and farmers alike, the economic crisis on Colombia’s countryside are the consequence of decades of state abandonment. The farmers additionally blame a free trade agreement with the United States for an aggravation of the rural reality.