Coffee farmers in Colombia are preparing to protest beginning April 28, claiming that the government is not following through on the $444 million in subsidies promised last year.
A spokesman for the farmer group Dignidad Cafetera says farmers of vegetables, sugarcane and cocoa are planning to strike if the government doesn’t meet its demands, although the current coffee harvest will not be interrupted.
“We don’t plan to interrupt harvesting of coffee. We need it after so many years of crisis,” Dignidad Cafetera’s Victor recently told Thompson Reuters.
The protest threat follows Dignidad Cafetera meetings last week in Peñalisa in the state of Antioquia. The group is calling for the government to assist in waiving debts, subsidizing agricultural financing, negotiating mining in coffee areas, stricter control on coffee imports and smuggling, and some restructuring of the Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros (FNC).
Similar protests reached a boiling point last harvest season in Colombia, with federal security forces blocking roads, physical altercations with farmers and thousands of dollars worth of crop losses. For more on last year’s strikes, read: After the Colombian Coffee Strike: What is $444 Million Really Worth?