- Title: Colombiaâ€™s Santos rips out coca plant to make way for crops
- Date: 1st June 2017
- Summary: CANO LAJAS, GUAVIARE, COLOMBIA (FILE) (REUTERS) GENERAL VIEW OF COCA PLANTATION COCA PLANTS FIELD OF COCA PLANTS
- Embargoed: 15th June 2017 02:30
- Keywords: Colombia coca cocaine peace FARC Juan Manuel Santos
- Location: SAN JOSE DEL GUAVIARE; CANO LAJAS, GUAVIARE; CAUCA, GUAYABERO REGION; GUAVIARE, COLOMBIA
- City: SAN JOSE DEL GUAVIARE; CANO LAJAS, GUAVIARE; CAUCA, GUAYABERO REGION; GUAVIARE, COLOMBIA
- Country: Colombia
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0016JG35TV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos uprooted a coca plant and replaced it with a legal crop in a ceremony that aims to help local farmers grow alternative crops to the coca plant which is used to make cocaine.
In January, Colombia's government and Marxist FARC rebels announced a plan to substitute illegal crops and eradicate vast tracts of coca leaf over the next year as part of a peace deal to end a half-century conflict.
Santos said manually replacing coca with legal crops was a unique opportunity to help local farmers brought on by the peace deal.
Colombia, which according to the United Nations has more than 96,000 hectares (237,000 acres) sown with coca, manually destroyed 17,642 hectares last year and seized a record 378 tonnes of cocaine.
The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, was considered one of the biggest players in Colombia's drug business.
FARC leader Ivan Marquez said the ex combatants were ready to contribute to the plan, while warning locals not to continue growing coca.
The guerrillas vowed to abandon the lucrative drug trade once a peace deal was reached but other armed groups, including paramilitary groups and other crime gangs have been looking to replace the FARC and take over its old income stream wherever possible.
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