Colombian authorities destroyed 220,000 hectares of coca in 2007. Nevertheless, the amount of hectares cultivated to grow the plant, used to produce cocaine, grew from 78,000 in 2006 to 98,000 in 2007, an increase of 25 percent, a leaked report from the country’s National Monitoring System shows.The amount of coca fields is almost at its level of 2002, when the U.S. and Colombian governments just had started Plan Colombia, a multibillion dollar operation to fumigate and manually destroy the country’s coca.Most of the Colombian coca is grown in the south west of Colombia, especially in Nariño, Meta, Guaviare and on the borders of Antioquia and Córdoba. Despite increased efforts by both U.S. and Colombian anti-narcotics agencies, the replanting of coca fields goes a lot faster than the eradication of them.Criminal gangs, consisting of demobilized paramilitaries and to a lesser extent guerrillas of the FARC and ELN are responsible for the cultivation of coca, anonymous government officials told the newspaper.The gangs producing the cocaine are said to have destroyed 66 thousand hectares of tropical forest to create space to grow the coca.
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