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Colombia: SINTRAINAGRO warns of catastrophic impact of 'free trade' on sugar industry livelihoods

16 February 2016 News
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The National Union of Agroindustry Workers of Colombia (SINTRAINAGRO) is calling for a radical change of government economic policies which threaten the livelihoods of more than 750,000 sugarcane workers and their families in the departments of Valle del Cauca and Risaralda. The 2012 free trade agreement with the US opened the door to the hollowing out of Colombia's food production, and the Santos government is now promoting a massive inflow of subsidized US sugar, sweetener and ethanol imports, putting thousands of Colombians at risk of falling into extreme poverty.

The massive destruction of livelihoods is all the more dangerous because it is in this region of Colombia that FARC guerrillas are to be demobilized as part of the process resulting from the peace negotiations. According to the union, mass unemployment and poverty will exacerbate tensions and the potential for increased violence.

SINTRAINAGRO represents the vast majority of unionized workers in Colombian agriculture.