HomeNewsBriefColombia to Offer Land Titles to Coca Growers Who Go Legal
BRIEF

Colombia to Offer Land Titles to Coca Growers Who Go Legal

COLOMBIA / 19 JUN 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

The Colombian government has announced a new strategy of offering land titles to coca growers in return for abandoning their illicit crops, a bold move, but one that fails to address what farmers can grow and sell instead.

Presently around 60 percent of coca farmers do not have deeds to the land where they farm, according to the director of a government anti-illicit crops program, Javier Florez. 

The government now plans to offer the farmers land titles if they agree not to replant coca after crops have been eradicated, which currently happens in 42 percent of cases, as El Tiempo reports. According to Florez, the strategy aims to incentivize farmers to give up coca cultivation and to ensure that they then only grow legal crops, as if they are found with coca they will have to forfeit their land titles.

The program is already underway in the department of Vichada and the government will next turn to Meta, Nariño, and Putumayo.

InSight Crime Analysis

The government's proposal is an interesting strategy that not only combines the carrot and stick approach to coca farmers without resorting to judicial punishments, but also recognizes the land rights issue that goes to the very heart of why so many small scale farmers resort to coca cultivation.

However, what it fails to take into account is the economic side of this issue. As has been demonstrated by the consistent failure of crop substitution programs, finding legal crops to replace coca is extremely difficult.

Farmers not only require a crop that produces sufficient and reliable yields, they also require access to markets, which in the isolated rural areas where coca is usually grown often proves to be very hard. Farmers growing legal crops are also subject to the whims of the global commodities markets and can be left financially destroyed by price crashes.

In contrast, coca is a hardy, high yield plant, there is always a steady market and price, and the buyer will happily come to the grower. If the government fails to help the farmers find a viable legal crop to grow on their newly titled land that can compete with this, then the plan is unlikely to see long term success.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 9 NOV 2012

Colombian police arrested six alleged members of a local criminal group known as "La Empresa" in the Pacific port city…

COLOMBIA / 9 AUG 2016

The power of Colombia's elites is founded upon one of the most unequal divisions of land in the world. As…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 1 NOV 2010

With occasional advice from a "witch," a group of police and military officials sold arms to the FARC's…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…