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Colombian coffee farmers end strike with $450 million pledge from government

The Colombian government pledged $450 million in price support for coffee farmers on 7 March, ending a strike that has interrupted logistics and coffee processing in the country for the past few weeks.  The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) released a statement on 8 March saying that organisers called off the strike following the government pledge. At least 40,000 coffee farmers had been on strike and involved in public protests since February. Farmers were protesting low coffee prices and the appreciation of the Colombian Peso against the US dollar, which had seen farmers' real income decrease significantly since last year.  Global Coffee Review first highlighted the vulnerability of Colombian coffee farmers to currency appreciate in an article published in November 2012, see <Coffee & Currency>. The statement released yesterday said that the new price support will be complemented with additional measures to help fertilisation, and facilitate loan payments for coffee growers. The FNC said that the specifics of how this will be achieved will be discussed in the coming days.  “The biggest challenge after the agreement will be to make sure that promises are actually delivered, and that support actually gets to coffee growers in a far and equitable way,” the FNC stated.  The measures are set to enter force as of 18 March. Because of this delay, the FNC said many growers will likely hold off on selling their coffee to ensure they receive the increased subsidy. This could lead to delays in March and April shipments, because the parchment coffee will be delayed entering the milling facilities. 

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