In Peru, the 14% of coca crop reduction will take away spaces from drug-traffickers and lead to creating more opportunities for farmers, who grow alternative products, the United Nations Office Crime and Drugs (UNODC) Representative in Peru Flavio Mirella announced.
He considered “positive” a monitoring report by the organization, which results shows that Peru has seen a 30% cumulative reduction of the total area of coca plantations for third consecutive year.
This is due to the fact that the land used for coca leaf crops was reduced in size from 62,500 to 60,400 hectares between 2011 and 2012; to 49,800 hectares in 2012-2013; and to 42,900 hectares in 2013-2014.
Such results represent an improvement if compared to the numbers recorded in the 2005-2011 period, time through which the coca growing area reached an expansion peak of 62,500 hectares; however, since 2012, sustained reduction has been achieved through 2014.
“What is most important is that the report shows there is sustainability in the results, which has been remarked since 2012, and leads to a net reduction by 30%. The space is not only reduced, but also replaced,”Mirella told.
According to the UNOCD representative alternative crops -such as those of cocoa, coffee and pineapple- lead to providing more opportunities to farmers, so those integrate into the economic and productive chain in the country by conducting legal activities.
Although, there is still much work to be done, he indicated the model allows generating trust due to the good results obtained in recent years, which have set the guidelines the next administrations will have to continue to follow, he added
The almost 14% reduction of land under coca cultivation in 2014 is cause of world-wide recognition to the efforts made by the Government to diminish illegal coca leaf crops, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala Tasso stated.
“It is a world-wide recognition to the efforts of the Government, which has reduced the amount of land used to grow coca leaves by more than 20,000 hectares, and has reduced the production of drugs,” he noted.
The President said this reduction is the result of the sustained interdiction policy of controllable chemical inputs.
“Since today, Peru is not the first producer of coca for drug trafficking anymore, respecting the cultivation for traditional consumption. Peru is not the biggest producer of drugs anymore,” the President emphasized.
It is an important step, he said, and as the United Nations has highlighted, this must be disseminated across the country.
Humala Tasso recalled that this year’s target is to eradicate 35,000 hectares of illegal coca leaf, and assured the Government’s historical average when he took office was 10,000 hectares. He said 32,000 hectares and more than 23,000 hectares were eradicated in 2014 and 2013, respectively.
This is the first time in the history of Peru that the growing trend of production of coca leaf cultivation for drug trafficking has been broken down,” he affirmed.
He said the voluntary crop substitution program aimed at replacing coca leaf cultivation by other legal crops is succeeding in the Vraem area (Valley formed by the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers).
“We have allocated funds to substitute 1,300 hectares of coca leaf cultivation devoted to drug trafficking by crops of pineapple, coffee and cocoa, seeking markets for growers to reach high profitability levels,” he said.
The Peruvian leader explained that growers receive support through Agrobanco bank during the whole process of cultivation, from seeds, sowing and maturation of products. “We don’t abandon them,” he stated.
Statements were made after opening the Machupichu-Abancay-Cotaruse transmission line and associated substations in the Apurimac region.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Executive President at the National Commission for Development and Life Without Drugs (Devida) will present an annual report on the monitoring of coca cultivation in Peru on Wednesday.
The document, corresponding to 2014, includes data about the reduction of the coca crops in the country. This will be presented at the UNODC Lima headquarters.
It is based on the information collected during visits to the area and Satellite-taken images of illegal coca crops located in different zones of the country.
According to last year's report, Peru achieved a 17% reduction in 2013. This was possible thanks to the actions promoted by government, such as coca eradication to be later replaced by alternative products: coffee, cocoa and pineapple.
"In the last report, Peru showed an important reduction and we hope this trend to continue. According to last year's report, the country that reduced coca crops the most was Peru, and we expect this achievement to be repeated," he stated.
According to Mirella, the results obtained by Peru were the most successful in the last 14 years thanks to the eradication and alternative development promoted by the government.
The previous report indicated the VRAEM area (Valley formed by the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers) was the largest coca-producing area, accounting for 57,3% of the total.
The 2015 World Drug Report of the United Nations, which hailed Peru’s efforts to reduce coca leaf crops, recognizes the Government’s policies aimed at fighting against this scourge, said Alberto Otarola, Executive President at the National Commission for Development and Life Without Drugs (Devida).
“The most significant effort was made by Peru; it is a recognition to the government of President Humala, in general to public policies on interdiction and reduction of coca growing area in the country,” Otarola stated.
The report, issued yesterday by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna, states the cultivation of coca leaf in 2013 decreased to the lowest level since estimates from the mid-1980s.
“The decline in 2013 was mainly driven by a 18% drop in the cultivation of coca leaves in Peru (going from 60,400 hectares in 2012 to 49,800 in 2013) and by a 9% reduction in Bolivia (from 25,300 to 23,000 hectares),” reads the document.
He said this scourge is disturbing because in the case of cocaine, there are 17 million people aged 15-64 who consume this type of narcotics worldwide, and the Andean region is the provider of the illegal substance.
Otarola warned that drugs is not only a problem involving public health, but represents a threat to the world and national security of countries. Statements were made during the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking established by the United Nations in 1987, which falls today.
This is why Devida has allocated S/.32 million (about US$10 million) for the prevention phase –with a joint work in coordination with various education organizations– the therapeutic care and the family prevention –with the emblematic counseling program “Habla Franco”.
The drug problem has become more difficult to address because now there are countries specializing in its production, shipment at ports and chemical inputs production; in addition, Brazil has turned into the second largest cocaine consumer at the global level.
“As for Peru, there is a settlement essentially aimed at producing cocaine hydrochloride,” he told RPP.