Friday, May 4, 2018

Scenes from the Coffee Farmers' Protest

Coffee farmers in front of the Ministry of Agriculture today.
 Today, hundreds of coffee farmers gathered in front of the Ministry of Agriculture to demand government subsidies, cheaper supplies such as fertilizers and an end to free trade agreements, which they blame for flooding Colombia with cheap imported coffee and other agricultural products.

The protesters perhaps did not reflect that those trade agreements also bring their fertilizers and other supplies in more cheaply, or that the same agreements which bring in competing agricultural goods also open the doors to selling Colombian coffee overseas.

Colombia has produced big harvests in recent years - which have not helped boost low international prices. The huge influx of Venezuelan refugees, some of whom have gone to work picking coffee, has helped the industry a little. In some traditional coffee-growing regions, farmers are switching to the new darling of Colombian arquitecture - avocadoes, which Colombia only recently began exporting to the United States.

A poster depicts Juan Valdez, the iconic Colombian offee farmer, as half naked from the waist down.

A protesters' placard portrays a struggling coffee farmer as half-nude from the waist down.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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