Poison is sprayed on Illicit crops with “bad aim” admitted Minsiter of Agriculture Juan Camilo Restrepo Salazar during a meeting with farmers in the western department of Nariño, reported Radio Caracol Friday.
Restrepo confirmed that a good deal of damage is done due to the lack of accuracy and marksmanship of the planes charged with eradication of coca crops.
“I have said that this business, with the subcontracts of the American contractors for fumigation suffers from poor aerial aim, and the poison is often discharged where there are no illicit crops, and therefore affects legal cultivations and discourages the honest farmer,” said Restrepo at the meeting in Tumaco, a hotbed of guerrilla activity and illicit drug cultivation.
“We have to look at this aerial fumigation very carefully. We the ministry for agriculture, have conveyed our concerns to Bogota because this is an ongoing worry for many farmers,” said the minister.
Restrepo agreed with the affected farmers and the Banco Agrario to set up a working group to assess the conditions of those affected by fumigation so that benefit could be gained from relief measures.
The agriculture minister was on a trip to asses the problems faced by the region’s farmers and to discuss solutions and support for the issues. In this vein three agreements were signed with local and departmental authorities to the tune of nearly $2.5 million to boost the cocoa, palm and forestry industries.