Strikes are causing massive losses in food and other goods as costs rise to $148.8 million, according to local media reports.
A report sent to Medellin newspaper El Colombiano, businesses have declared losses of more than 1.4 million tons of merchandise. Some 70,000 trucks that do the transporting have been affected by the strikes and protests, which have crippled the country’s economy in multiple regions around the country.
Truck drivers, potato farmers, milk farmers, miners, and students have driven the now 11-day national strike that has blazed through Colombia’s countryside and hit its major cities. The protesters are calling for severe changes to President Juan Manuel Santos’ administration’s economic policy, which they say is the culprit behind Colombia’s high production costs and low revenues.
Some merchandise, like the chicken of Director Andres Moncada Zapata’s Poultry company, is still stuck in Colombia’s Pacific port.
“The port of Buenaventura,” he said, “is full, and since there are no trucks to get out the freight, and that means there are ships waiting in the harbor. That comes with super high costs.”
This, said Zapata, is a preliminary calculation of the costs Colombia’s strikes have had on the country. But people in Colombia’s main cities, like Bogota, are already feeling the toll on agriculture prices.
Local media have reported a rise in prices of potatoes, rice and other agricultural products since merchandise is not able to get to market. Price inflation, reported financial magazine Dinero, reached 0.9% in August.
Some products, like milk, have spoiled before reaching cities due to roadblocks that come with the strikes.
Born and raised in upstate New York, Wesley Tomaselli studied at Cornell University. He developed an interest for international relations and money flows when working in northern Italy in 2008 and watched the US financial crisis unfold from the other side of the Atlantic. Tomaselli holds down Colombia Reports’ desk in Bogota and covers primarily business and economics.