Devida Aims to Convert VRAE into Agricultural Hub

Peru’s anti-drug agency, Devida, said Wednesday that its goal is to convert the coca-growing Apurimac and Ene river valleys into a productive center for agricultural products, state news agency Andina reported.

The valleys, known as the VRAE and located in central Peru, are  the country’s top producing area of coca, the raw material used to make cocaine.

“The idea is that from this area of the country first-class products from alternative cultivations [are produced],” said Ricardo Soberon, the head of Devida.

During a food expo, Soberon highlighted 15 products that are being promoted for the first time from the VRAE, including cacao and organic coffee.

Soberon said that Devida has budgeted 20 million soles ($7.20 million) to finance alternative cultivation programs. He said they are also working in coordination with local and regional governments to support alternative crops.

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