A group of Colombian coffee growers demonstrated on Monday before the European Union Embassy in Bogota to express their disagreement with the low prices for the beans on the international market.
“We’re just a small group showing the European Union that the coffee growers of Colombia are indignant at the low prices for which their crop is being bought on the world market,” Oscar Gutierrez Reyes, the executive director of Colombian Agricultural Dignity, told EFE.
The demonstration was called to coincide with the start in London of the 122nd session of the International Coffee Council, part of the International Coffee Organization, consisting of countries that account for 98 percent of the exports of the bean and 67 percent of coffee consumers.
Gutierrez said that the cost of production of 11.5 kg (25 lb) of coffee is about 78,000 pesos ( $26), but coffee growers are not receiving more than 69,000 pesos ( $23).
The median international price for coffee stands at 98.6 cents a pound, the lowest in 12 years and a little more than one-third the $2.90 a pound sought by Colombian growers.
Gutierrez said that, if this trend continues, the losses for Colombian producers would be “at least $500 million.”
The top EU diplomat in Colombia, Francisco Garcia, who received a letter from the producers, said that “coffee is one of the key sectors” in the bloc’s relationship with Colombia and the EU supports “different projects to support coffee-producing communities throughout the country.”
“The fall in international prices for coffee is due to global oversupply, but it’s important to emphasize that in Europe coffee enters with zero tariffs, thanks to the free trade agreement between the EU and Colombia,” he said.
Gutierrez said that the Colombian government is doing “absolutely nothing” to mitigate the problem, and he invited President Ivan Duque to “raise his voice” with the international community to defend the coffee growers.
Last month Duque announced $33.4 million in aid to Colombian coffee growers affected by low prices for their product.
© 2018 EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc.