Farmers in Colombia’s troubled northeast agree to end shut-down

Farmers in northeast Colombia agreed to end a shut-down of their province after the government on Sunday vowed to respect a peace agreement with Marxist FARC rebels.

The farmers specifically demanded the execution of promised investments in development and the substitution of coca, the base ingredient of cocaine.

According to Agriculture Minister Juan Pablo Diaz-Granados, the national government specifically vowed to improve healthcare, public security and road infrastructure.

Protest leader Cesar Jerez told media that the government had agreed to approximately 90% of the farmers’ demands and talks would continue without strike.

Following decades of state neglect, poverty and armed conflict, Catatumbo has become one of Colombia’s most important coca cultivation regions and home to multiple armed groups.