Peru Signs Deals with Communities to Prevent Coca Cultivation

Peru’s anti-drug agency Devida has reached agreements with a number of rural communities to stop the cultivation of coca, part of a broader strategy to curb the country’s expanding cocaine output.

The agreements have been signed with communities in Huanuco after officials have gone in to eradicate illegal coca plantations. Coca, which is grown legally in some parts of Peru for traditional uses, is the main ingredient to make cocaine.

“Devida and other sectors are in the Monzon valley [Huanuco region] and they’ve got communities to sign agreements to reject the re-planting of coca. We now have 10 communities involved,” Devida president Carmen Masias said, according to daily La Republica.

Forced eradication of coca crops is one of the main pillars of President Ollanta Humala’s anti-drug plan. It has also been a mainstay of previous administration plans, but while eradication continued in recent years the number of hectares being planted in other areas meant that the total number of hectares actually increaseand during the Garcia administration. The government is aiming to increase eradication steadily over the next few years. This year, it aims to eradicate 22,000 hectares of coca, up from some 14,000 hectares in 2012. The standard prior to 2011 was 10,000 ha per year.

Masias said that officials have completed 60 percent of its eradication goal for this year. She said that they could reach 25,000 hectares in all of 2013.

Peru is the world’s top producer of cocaine, along with Colombia. Bolivia is the third largest producer.

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