(MEDELLIN, Colombia) — While you brew your morning cup of coffee, trouble is brewing in Colombia among the country’s coffee growers.
In response to falling international prices and the lowest crop in decades, thousands of coffee growers went on strike and protested in the streets, demanding higher subsidies.
Coffee is the second most valuable traded commodity in the world after petroleum, and Colombia is the fourth largest producer. The crop is one of the nation’s biggest exports.
Protesters blocked streets and came into conflict with police in several cities and towns, who would not allow the roadblocks.
But President Juan Manuel Santos says his government already pays growers subsidies of 60,000 pesos equivalent to 33 dollars for every 275 pounds of coffee.
“The strike is not only inconvenient and unnecessary but also unjust,” he said in a speech broadcast on radio and TV.
Santos has said he will consider extending the benefit created last July.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Laura Goehler, CNN
Laura Smith-Spark, Erin McLaughlin and Nina dos Santos, CNN
Nicole Chavez, CNN
Larry Register, CNN