Peru to Purchase Illegal Coca in a Bid to Fight Drug Trade

Peru’s Cabinet Chief Anibal Torres announced Wednesday the government’s plan to purchase the entire supply of coca leaf in the country, as part of its strategy to fight drug trade. 

“It is imperative to buy coca leaves for at least a year from those already registered and those who will be included in the newly created register,” Torres said.

Torres added that the government is committed to “gradual, voluntary, consensual and sustained reduction” in harvests. 

Peru’s coca leaf growers produce an estimated 160,000 tons of coca leaves every year over an area of 62,000 hectares, but 95% of it is used illegally, producing about 400 tons of cocaine each year. 

Meanwhile, the state coca company National Coca Company (ENACO) buys the legally grown coca leaves but only produces 2,500 tons a year.

According to reports, 95,000 growers have been registered legally but about 400,000 have not.  

In 1978, Peru created the register of coca leaf producers as part of a state policy to fight drug trade, including the destruction of illegal crops.

Earlier this month, authorities burned 16.3 tons of illegal drugs captured this year.

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