LIMA, Peru – Peruvian authorities aim to eradicate a record 22,000 hectares (54,363.2 acres) of illegal coca crops in 2013, according to Interior Minister Wilfredo Pedraza.
“The goal reflects President Ollanta Humala’s strong policy to combat drug trafficking, and he wants to exceed all eradication records,” Pedraza said on Jan. 14.
Pedraza said counter-narcotics forces, for the first time ever, will concentrate eradication efforts in the cocaine-rich valleys in the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro river area.
The government said eradication in that area has been curtailed for years by narco-traffickers who work with the remnants of the Shining Path.
Eradication efforts also are planned for the regions of Huánuco, Pasco, San Martín and Ucayali.
Peru’s National Commission for a Drug-Free Life (Devida) said it eradicated 14,171 hectares (35,017.3 acres) of coca crops in 2012, exceeding its target of 14,000 hectares (34,594.75 acres).
Peru was the largest producer of cocaine in the region in 2011, with 716,502 pounds (325,000 kilograms), followed by Bolivia, with 584,224 pounds (265,000 kilograms) and Colombia, with 429,901 pounds (195,000 kilograms), according to the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
[AFP (Peru), 14/01/2013; El Diario (Mexico), 14/01/2013]