European Union Promotes Alternative Crops to Coca in Bolivia

By Dialogo
August 21, 2013

The European Union announced a cooperation line for 25 million euros to counter drug trafficking in Bolivia, by financing alternative crops to coca plantation, the main raw material for making cocaine, the international institution reported on August 19.

The project might “benefit about 80,000 farmer families and, indirectly, up to 400,000 people” in Bolivia, European Union Development commissioner Andris Piebalgs said, in preparation to a visit to the country.

“Our new funding will continue to improve the life of Bolivian citizens, since it will offer farmers alternatives to coca crops,” Piebalgs stated.

The official will visit Bolivia for a week to evaluate the fight against drug trafficking, and will meet President Evo Morales on August 28.

Piebalgs will arrive in Santa Cruz and the coca region of Chapare, where drug trafficking mainly operates, in addition to Oruro (southeast), where the European Union (EU) has development projects.

Processing installations for alternative products, such as palm heart, have been open for decades in the Chapare, where Morales used to be a coca grower before he got involved in politics.

EU programs “have considerably contributed to reductions in areas where coca is grown (12% reduction in 2011 and 7% in 2012),” the institution said in a newsletter.

There are intelligent solutions for all kind of situations, such as this European Union one. If all countries got united there wouldn’t be more drugs in the world.