HomeNewsBriefHalf of All Destroyed Coca Crops Replanted in Colombia
BRIEF

Half of All Destroyed Coca Crops Replanted in Colombia

COCA / 29 OCT 2019 BY JUAN CAMILO JARAMILLO EN

The Colombian government has lauded the success of its stringent targets for the eradication of coca crops nationwide, but with replanting rates estimated at up to 67 percent, the impact of this campaign is in doubt.

Between January and October of 2019, public security forces have managed to eradicate 65,231 hectares of coca, or 80 percent of the government's 80,000-hectare eradication target for the year, according to a report by El Tiempo.

Last year, Colombia saw its first drop, albeit a minuscule one, in its total coca crop cultivation since 2012, falling from 209,000 hectares in 2017 to 208,000 hectares in 2018, according to data from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profile

However, replanting is occurring at a rate of between 50 and 67 percent, according to Miguel Ceballos, Colombia's High Commissioner for Peace.

This information corroborates data from the Institute of Studies for Development and Peace (Instituto de Estudios para el Desarrollo y la Paz – INDEPAZ), which has estimated replanting rates at around 50 percent.

The territories most affected by this phenomenon are the departments of Antioquia, Guaviare, Norte de Santander and Vichada, according to INDEPAZ.

InSight Crime Analysis

There are a plethora of reasons for rural farmers to persist in planting coca crops despite government eradication programs.

On the one hand, communities that plant coca are subject to constant pressure from criminal groups that control drug trafficking in their area. Due to threats, attacks and murders, rural farmers feel obliged to replant crops eradicated by the Army in order to continue providing these organizations with the raw material they demand.

At the same time, faced with the improbability of accessing another source of income, many communities see the coca leaf as their only means of survival. A rural farmer from the municipality of Cumaribo in Vichada told InSight Crime that like many other locals, the coca leaf is his only source of income, forcing him to replant.

During field trips to Vichada and Norte de Santander, InSight Crime confirmed that farmers are sometimes able to pay off soldiers to leave their crops alone, or to allow them to destroy only a portion while reporting total eradication.

SEE ALSO: Aggressive Coca Eradication Threatens Voluntary Substitution Efforts in Colombia

At times, in order to avoid losing their greatest source of income, communities are even willing to confront armed forces. During a recent forced eradication operation in the municipality of San Miguel in Putumayo department along Colombia's border with Ecuador, a violent confrontation between police and community members left one rural farmer dead and 33 others injured.

It should be noted that rural farmers have consistently denounced the failure of crop substitution programs. These were created as part of the 2016 peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia -- FARC) to offer farmers legal alternatives to coca cultivation.

“When the program was proposed to us, the government made a show of its offers ... but it was badly planned ... the contracts were not awarded, making the other stages [of the crop substitution plan] impossible," one farmer in Antioquia told El Espectador.

Another major factor for the high rate of replanting is that manual eradication efforts in Colombia appear to lack essential planning elements. On several occasions, the teams responsible for this task did not assure that the root of the plant was removed, which otherwise permits the plant to regrow within just four months.

It is partially due to these types of challenges faced by eradication programs that the administration of President Iván Duque states that, regardless of past failures and the high humanitarian costs, a return to aerial fumigation using the controversial herbicide glyphosate is the only way to stop coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia.

Nevertheless, INDEPAZ reported that the effectiveness of voluntary crop substitution programs is 99.4 percent, with replanting rates reaching just 0.6 percent.

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 / 8 APR 2021

Children serve in a wide range of roles in criminal organizations: errand boy, landmine builder, frontline combatant and assassin. In…

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

In 1989, Los Angeles police transformed Europe's cocaine trade when they broke open a padlock guarding a Californian warehouse.

COLOMBIA / 27 APR 2022

Before his arrest and extradition, Otoniel, both a former guerrilla fighter and ex-paramilitary, has an unparalleled reputation in the underworld.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…