Monday, August 17, 2015

The Disaster of Coca Eradication

Great AP story on the serious problems with coca eradication in Peru. The basic story is decades old--coca is a livelihood and you court disaster if you don't first create a legal alternative to growing it. Crop substitution is great in theory, but very tricky in practice:

Duran and her husband planted bananas after a government crew uprooted their coca crop for the first time in 2013. 
But when the fruit ripened, the river connecting them with the nearest market town was dry and they trekked for five hours with 100 bananas between them. 
Duran said the bananas turned out to be worth just $1 at market. 
The family went back to planting coca, which brings them a little less than $1,000 at harvest every four months. 
"Nobody buys anything but coca," she said.

Compare that to this article written 15 years ago.

Last week, some 35,000 Peruvian coca growers protested the government’s eradication campaign by blockading major highways. They called for an end to eradication until the government provides economic incentives for alternative crops. The low market value of alternative crops and the difficulty in getting them to markets has resulted in a desperate struggle for survival for many farmers forced to abandon coca cultivation.

Doesn't matter if it's Alberto Fujimori or Ollanta Humala--crop eradication has not worked. You trumpet how much coca you've destroyed and ignore the human cost.


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