Coca impoverishes agriculture

An Editorial from El Diario:

Coca impoverishes agriculture

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 3.21.09 PMMany regions in the Yungas of La Paz and several places that have valleys and headwaters of the valley, have been victims of coca, -when the plant is excedentario [in excess]- when used to manufacture cocaine. Los Yungas region has traditionally been a producer of vegetables, coffee, fruits of all good quality and quantity, and the city of La Paz was provided for by this production; but in recent years these lands have become producers of the coca plant.

Coca for the manufacture of drug proceeds generally comes from two places: the Chapare and surrounding regions of Cochabamba and La Paz, whose valleys are suitable for the cultivation of coca. Part of it is for traditional uses, such as chewing and other; yunqueña much of the production is sold in the valleys of Cochabamba and Chapare especially because the production itself [from the Chapare] is rejected by farmers [to chew] as “hard, thick and sour”, is useless for chewing; however, the Yungas leaves are sought to be “soft and sweet” suitable and recommended.

The worst of coca crops is depleting the land, creating deep roots that destroy the humus and prevent the cultivation and growth of other plants, such as coffee, pepper, fruits and vegetables; therefore, large vegetable gardens and full fruit plots in the Yungas have practically fallen dramatically and are replaced by coca.

Drug trafficking is surely the great enabler of coca, because much of the surplus production is destined to the production of coca paste and crystallized cocaine, coupled with what is achieved in the Chapare and many regions of Cochabamba form large reserves of coca that is used to the drug. Coca, for its strong texture is suitable for precursors or chemicals that are imported from the same countries that claim to fight drug trafficking to be lethal to its population, be more effective.

Large tracts of arable land are used for cultivation of coca production, they have displaced fruits and food products and spaces that always had good market. The trouble is that the permissive policies for coca cultivation and its conversion into drug does not allow farmers and ranchers to recover their property. Although the 1008 Act itself establishes only 12 thousand hectares for traditional uses, it has exceeded that figure and reaches 20 thousand hectares, surely, for the most part may be used for the production of drugs. Rescuing land from coca growers, would be essential work of the authorities in order to return to traditional crops.

Crystal clear reality in a country that is ruled by the coca-grower leader of the Chapare…

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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