An estimated 30,000 coffee growers are on strike in Colombia to demand increased government support for the struggling crop. There have been reports of clashes with police and use of tear gas to subdue the protesters.
The government announced Wednesday that it will negotiate with farmers only if they first stop blocking roads in protest. President Juan Manuel Santos initially called the strike «inconvenient, unnecessary [and] unfair» in a televised speech defending government support for the coffee industry. But farmers say the government’s subsidies are not enough to compensate for falling prices and this year’s poor harvest.
Last year saw the lowest coffee crop in decades. The country has grown to rely on foreign imports to meet demand at home.