President says strike is “unnecessary and unfair”

Luis Genaro Muñoz, president of the National Coffee Growers' Federation, and President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos.

In Antioquia’s southeastern region, traffic was significantly lighter on Monday morning due to a strike organized by the nation’s coffee growers.

The representative for Antioquia’s Association of Coffee Producers (Aprocafé), Fabio Correa, announced the group would join the efforts of more than 4,500 participants, as he believes the crisis in the sector requires immediate urgent action on the Government’s part.

Coffee growers are protesting against a Government they claim has left them alone to survive a crisis that started more than a year ago, motivated by low grain prices, the peso’s revaluation and high prices of fertilizers and insecticides.

President Juan Manuel Santos called the strike “inconvenient, unnecessary and unfair” but said he respects coffee growers’ right to protest and asked that they refrain from altering public order or blocking the roads.

“No other administration has supported the sector like this one has,” Mr. Santos said, “Coffee growers haven’t been left alone. As a Government we have always been willing to support them. Coffee crops grew 64 percent in January of this tear, which shows that the sector is recovering.”

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