Colombia’s cafeteros– or coffee growers – and the government finally came to an agreement that puts an end to a strike that has left several people wounded.
Colombia is now granting higher subsidies to the farmers and extending an income support programme until the end of the year.
“We are going back to our land to continue producing the best coffee in the world,” said Guillermo Gaviria, a protest leader.
After 40 long hours of negotiations with Colombia’s vice-president and several government ministers, coffee farmers agreed to rise subsidies from the current level of $33 per “load”, or 125 kilos of coffee beans, to $81.
If the price of coffee drops below $266 per load, the subsidy will hike to $91. Colombia’s finance minister, Mauricio Cárdenas, said the increase would cost the government $443m.
“Never in the history of coffee has such an aid been given,” agriculture minister, Juan Camilo Restrepo, told reporters.
For the past few weeks, Colombia’s government has been dealing with labour unrest on various fronts, something that has had an impact on the popularity of the country’s president, Juan Manuel Santos.
But some good news for Santos though. In addition to an end to the cafteros strikes, miners at Cerrejón, the Andean country’s biggest coal exporter, on Friday have also accepted a wage offer. Their month-long strike is expected to come to an end sometime this weekend.