Coca growers may turn away from cocaine and towards biofuel

Peruvian national anti-drugs group Devida has stated that crops such as sugar cane and oil palm, used for making ecologically safe biofuel, may prove an alternative crop to replace coca in the country’s mountains. Although coca can be grown legally in Peru, over 90% of the annual crop is siphoned off for the illegal production of cocaine and related drugs.

Devida Chief Rómulo Pizarro stated today that his group is studying the possibility and profitability of turning over land currently used for coca for growing biofuel crops, providing growers with a viable and legal alternative.

He added that this would be an interesting alternative given that the biofuel industry is growing fast and seems to have a great future ahead of it, so the market will probably be strong in the near future – something missing from many other alternative crop plans.

“Our idea is to support this possibility because it could be an excellent alternative to coca, providing a sustainable crop and, above all, a guaranteed market.”

He said that for this project to succeed, it needs not only private investment but a joint venture including several government bodies, such as national oil company Petroperu, the Ministry of Agriculture, and local and regional governments.

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