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Andean Group - January 2019

Are drones a potential solution to Colombia coca production increase?

Colombia’s President Iván Duque is the latest in a long line of presidents to have to wrestle with the problem of coca production. He came to power in August 2018 with coca production once again on the rise, an unintended and undesired by-product of the peace agreement with the guerrilla group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc). During his presidential campaign, backed as it was by the hard-line former president Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010), Duque criticised the accords of the peace agreement that dealt with counter-narcotics policy, in particular coming out against making deals with coca farmers and advocating forced eradication where farmers were not voluntarily substituting their coca crop for legal harvests or where coca plantations were on the rise. One of his mooted potential solutions for addressing the problem is the use of drones spraying herbicides to better target the coca crops.

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