10 December 2013
The Executive Director of the ICO, Mr Robério Oliveira Silva, gave the keynote speech at the LXXIX National Coffee Congress of Colombia which took place in Bogota, Colombia from 27 to 30 November 2013. The theme of the Congress was 'Competitiveness in the coffee sector'. It was opened by H.E. Mr Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, accompanied by the Minister of Finance, Mr. Mauricio Cárdenas, and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Rubén Darío Lizarralde Montoya. In his speech Mr Silva reiterated his support for the work and achievements of the National Coffee Growers' Federation which was established 86 years ago, and commended the country for maintaining high quality standards that have characterized its coffee and made Colombia the benchmark for premium beans across the globe. During the Congress, Mr Cárdenas announced the Government's decision to extend current subsidies to coffee farmers throughout 2014, making available more than US$500 million for the Coffee Growers' Income Protection (PIC) programme, aimed at compensating growers for low international prices.