By Reuters in The New York Times

BOGOTA — Colombia is advancing towards meeting a court's requirements that will allow it to renew aerial herbicide spraying of coca crops, the chief ingredient of cocaine, the minister of defense said Monday.

The Andean country, considered one of the world's foremost cocaine producers, finished 2019 with 154,000 hectares (380,542 acres) of coca crops and a potential cocaine output of 1,137 tonnes a year, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Though coca crop size fell 9% in 2019 to the lowest level in six years, the capacity to produce cocaine rose 1.5% due to increased productivity. Colombia faces permanent pressure from the United States, the main destination for cocaine, to reduce crops.

The government of President Ivan Duque is looking to meet various health and environmental requirements demanded by Colombia's Constitutional Court to re-start aerial spraying with the herbicide glyphosate.

Colombia suspended spraying campaigns in 2015 following a recommendation by the World Health Organization, which warned glyphosate could potentially be cancerous and harmful for health and the environment.