Colombian coffee strikes continue despite extra income support

  At least 40,000 coffee growers continue to strike in Colombia, protesting low coffee prices and poor exchange rates, despite an offer of additional income support from the government.  The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) announced on 4 March that the local situation had not improved, despite a significant package of price support from the government announced 1 March for coffee growers. The FNC noted that other sectors have since joined the strike, notably commercial road transport. Total price support that started last October, and will continue through to December this year, is said to be valued at US$360 million. The FNC said that leaders of the protest are requesting more and have decided to maintain the roadblocks.   “Our position is that we have to be responsible, obey the law and respect the mobility rights of others, including those of the coffee growing community not participating in the strike as well as from other sectors of the Colombian society,” the FNC said in a statement. Commercial logistics in the country are reported to have begun to be affected. The FNC said that domestic transportation of coffee from inner towns to main milling centers has been affected, as well as transportation to certain ports. The FNC said it would keep the public informed of possible delays in specific shipments. It has redirected some of its own shipments from Buenaventura to Cartagena and Santa Marta in order to avoid the roads that are currently blocked.  The FNC confirmed that some shipment delays will occur due to the strike. “The coffee is not getting to the ports on time, but also the coffee is not flowing normally from the producing regions to our milling facilities,” the FNC said in a statement.  

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