Peru to Host Anti-Drug Officials During Alternative Development Meeting

Peru is preparing to host anti-drug officials from more than 30 countries next week for a conference on alternative development, according to Peru’s anti-drug chief, Carmen Masias.

The meeting is to help officials discuss and strengthen strategies for implementing alternative development that can replace coca crops, used to manufacture cocaine.   A wide variety of crops are easily grown in the montane forest on the eastern slopes of the Andes —some even producing up to three harvests per year— but farmers lack the long-term support and facilities for easy access out of the areas and into national and international markets.  

The attraction of growing coca is that the bushes require little if any attention and the drug traffickers come to the farmer’s doorstep to collect the harvest.

Alternative development and forced eradication of coca crops are two of the main pillars of Peru’s anti-drug strategy.

“We will explore the possibilities for Peru’s main river basins,” Masias said, according to state news agency Andina.

Peru is one of the world’s top producers of coca leaves, along with Colombia. Production in Peru has been increasing steadily over the past decade, while it has decreased in Colombia. Bolivia is also a major producer of the leaf.

“We all need to commit to alternative development,” Masias added. “Because with it, the farmers can provide their children with a licit and dignified life, give them a future and present, without being subjected to drug trafficking.”

The conference is scheduled for November 14 to 16.

In addition to its use for cocaine, coca also has traditional purposes for communities living in the Andes.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *