The peace deal signed late last year between the government and the main rebel group — the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC — was never just about ending the Americas’ longest-running conflict. The Colombian government also sees peace as its biggest chance in decades to uproot the rebel-controlled drug trade and replace it with crops that are legal, though admittedly less lucrative.
Peace means that soldiers no longer have to shoot their way into rebel-held territory to pull up coca plants or dismantle drug labs. Now the FARC, which formally disarmed last month, is joining forces with the government to wean farmers off coca — one of the first collaborations ever between the old enemies.
Now, as part of its reconstruction plan for Colombia’s war-ravaged countryside, the government is promising money to the first 50,000 coca-growing families that take the offer: a monthly payment of about $325 for the first year that farmers give up coca, followed by subsidies to plant new crops and education on how to grow them.
Keep up-to-date with drug policy developments by subscribing to the IDPC Monthly Alert.
Thumbnail: Flickr CC Colombia Johana Arias Valle