Peru Coca Growers Call for Reform

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A union of Peruvian coca producers has demanded the new government of Ollanta Humala re-evaluate its position on coca eradication, following the restart of the suspended eradication program.

The head of the National Confederation of Agricultural Producers of the Coca Valleys of Peru (CONCPACCP), Serafin Lujan, said he was not satisfied by a meeting with Ricardo Soberon, head of Peru’s anti-drug commission, Devida.

Soberon did not commit to reconsider eradication strategy, as the country’s coca producers had demanded.

Lujan claimed that he and those he represents are “not against eradication” entirely but want a review of the government’s current strategy. CONCPACCP comprises 50,000 small-scale producers of the coca leaf.

The Humala government announced the temporary suspension of coca eradication in August, in order to re-evaluate the policy, but efforts were restarted the following week.

Soberon has moved to reassure coca farmers about their future, stating his wish to “give these farmers genuine alternative life-changing and legal” work so they do not return to the cultivation of coca.

Peruvian newspaper La Republica recently held a round table discussion, where Soberon and other key figures in drug policy discussed the future of communities in the Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAE) alongside local leaders. One mayor called for a focus on health and education in the region, while anti-drug non-profit CEDRO said that the VRAE should be made into a single administrative zone — it is currently split between the provinces of Ayacucho, Cusco and Junin.

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