Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos dismissed the possibility of returning to aerial fumigation to combat the skyrocketing production of coca crops in the country.
The possibility was raised by Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez, who asked for an evaluation of a return to the policy in an interview published on Sunday.
Santos argued that the spraying does not resolve the problem.
“We arrive, fumigate or eradicate it with soldiers and police, only for farmers to plant even more productive varieties as we leave,” the president said.
Use of glysophate has been on the decline since 2006 and was banned entirely last year after farmers for years had complained about health issues and said the weedkiller was killing all crops, not just coca.
The Constitutional Court ruled against the practice of aerial spraying of glyphosate, a Monsanto product, based on the World Health Organizations decision that it is “probably carcinogenic in humans.”
The use of Glufosinate, another product of Monsanto, is not banned, and the chemical is in wide use around the world.
Still, direct exposure is hazardous.
Opponents of Santos’ peace negotiations view the cessation as a concession to the FARC.
The peace deal agrees that the government will focus on a “structural” crop substitution programs for these farmers, and will focus law enforcement efforts on producers and traffickers.
These crop substitution policies have been successful in neighboring Peru, which is the second largest cocaine producer.
Manual eradication has fallen out of favor, due to the widespread use of landmines. Additionally, the eradicators are typically civilians, and struggle to stand up to enraged coca farmers.
Coca cultivation has doubled in the past two years to 2007 levels, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Although eradication has risen 70% this year, without further action the cultivation figures will grow this year, in stark contrast to the goals of the $10 billion Plan Colombia.
- Santos descarta reanudar fumigación aérea con glifosato (El Espectador)
- Santos anunció que no retomará fumigación aérea de cultivos ilícitos (El Colombiano)