"The goal is to replace approximately 50,000 hectares of illicit crops during the first year of implementation in more than 40 municipalities in the most affected departments"
FARC rebels are gathering for a congress to discuss and vote a peace accord reached with the Colombian government to end five decades of war. , photo: AP/Ricardo Mazalan
27 of January 2017 14:53:52
BOGOTÁ – Colombia's government and Marxist FARC rebels announced a plan on Friday to substitute illegal crops and eradicate vast tracts of coca leaf, the raw material for cocaine, over the next year as part of a peace deal to end a half-century conflict.Colombia, which according to the United Nations has more than 96,000 hectares (237,000 acres) sown with coca, manually destroyed 17,642 hectares last year and seized a record 378 tons of cocaine.Planting of coca was up 39 percent in 2015 after the government halted aerial fumigation with the chemical glyphosate, which was a key part of its U.S.-backed counternarcotics strategy. Colombia and neighboring Peru are the world's leading producers of cocaine."The goal is to replace approximately 50,000 hectares of illicit crops during the first year of implementation in more than 40 municipalities in the most affected departments," the government and the rebels said in a joint statement.The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, was considered one of the biggest players in Colombia's drug business.President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leadership agreed on the crop substitution program as part of last year's peace agreement.
LUIS JAIME ACOSTAHELEN MURPHY