Peru starts replacing coca leaf production with pineapples in VRAEM -

Peru starts replacing coca leaf production with pineapples in VRAEM

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Peru starts replacing coca leaf production with pineapples in VRAEM

Peru is planting 550,000 pineapple seedlings on land in the center of the country previously used to grow coca leaves for the drugs trade. Syyngenta

The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MINAGRI) had been undertaking the project in the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers Valley (VRAEM), home to Maoist guerrilla group Shining Path and some 60% of the country’s coca production.

Shade is also being established on another 246 hectares of land to be used for coffee and cocoa production.

These efforts are part of the process of Agricultural Production Reconversion, which aims to provide sustainable alternatives for VRAEM's economic development.

The planting of pineapple seedlings has already been completed in an area covering 261 hectares around the Pichari, Kimbiri, Sivia y Anchihuay districts, and 73,000 banana leaves being used for shade for the cocoa and coffee crops.

Sections of land have been distributed to 627 local growers, who will take over management of the areas.

Technicians have been visiting the various communities in VRAEM to provide assistance on cultivation and soil management for legal crops.

Coca plants have also recently been cleared on a further 410 hectares of land, and the areas distributed to local growers, along with tools and fertilizers for soil preparation.

About 288 hectares of that land will be used for cacao production, with a further 111 hectares for coffee and 11 for pineapple, benefitting 400 small and medium-sized producers.

"Farmers are finding the agricultural production recovery is a transparent process and beneficial for them and their community," project leader Julio Salazar said.

"The formalization of their activities, far from being a challenge, is an opportunity for them."

In Peruvian President Ollanta Humala’s address to the nation in late July, he said over the past four years more than 98,000 hectares of agricultural land had been recovered in areas once dedicated to coca leaves.

“Just in the first six months of this year, 1,300 hectares of illegal coca leaf crops located in the VRAEM have been transformed into lands for planting alternative products like coffee, cacao and pineapples,” the president said.

“We expect to double this figure in the next year and therefore benefit 30,000 Peruvian men and women.

“In VRAEM the strategy for the reduction of coca leaf crops for narcotrafficking is not undertaken by the Ministry of Defense or the Ministry of the Interior. The strategy is led by the Ministry of Agriculture, committed to seeking out the conversion of crops and voluntary eradication.”


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