Colombia eradicated 87,571 hectares planted with illicit crops in 2018, of which 60,016 were manually torn and 27,555 replaced by legal plantings, Defense Minister Guillermo Botero informed today.
"The goal of total eradication of illicit crops, between manually eradicated (60,016 hectares) and replaced by legal crops (27,555 hectares.) The planned goal was 70,000, and we reached 87,571 hectares," wrote Botero on Twitter.
According to the latest report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), published last September, coca cultivation in Colombia increased by 17% in 2017 and reached a record of 171,000 hectares.
This figure is 25,000 hectares more than in the previous year, before what the Government of President Ivan Duque, who took office on August 7, presented a new comprehensive policy to fight against drugs.
The pillars on which this plan is based are: the reduction of drug consumption, the attack on supply, the dismantling of criminal organizations, the impact on the economies and income of organized crime and the transformation of territories into licit economies.
In this sense, Botero stressed that from January 1 to August 7, 29,754 hectares had been eradicated with an average of 136 hectares per day.
Since the beginning of the Government of Duque, according to the information provided by the Minister of Defense, 30,262 have been eradicated with an average of 211 daily.
"We have exceeded the annual goal by 20% reaching 60,000 hectares thanks to the new strategy," he said.
For his part, the commander of the Antinarcotics Police, General Fabián Cárdenas, told reporters in Tumaco, the municipality with the most hectares of coca planted, that the authorities have "managed to exceed the figures".
All this, "thanks to the joint effort" with the Army in a task "articulated against the entire criminal chain of drug trafficking."
General Cárdenas went to Tumaco accompanied by the Minister of Justice, Gloria María Borrero, who told reporters that he wanted to know "first hand" the fight against drug trafficking.