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Coca cultivation and crop eradication in Colombia: The challenges of integrating rural reality into effective anti-drug policy

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 02:24 authored by Rincon-Ruiz, A, Correa, HL, Leon, DO, Williams, S
This paper examines the positive and negative (or intended and unintended) impacts of anti-drug policies such as the aerial spraying of coca crops in Colombia. It provides spatial analysis of coca cultivation and crop eradication at a fine scale of resolution using the latest UNODC data. The findings suggest that anti-drug policy in Colombia between 2001 and 2012 has had some success with a significant decrease in overall levels of coca cultivation, but that it has also led to the displacement of coca cultivation, notably to areas within the Colombian Pacific region. Negative impacts include continued deforestation and damage to ecosystems, and the further marginalization of Afro-Colombian communities whose collective territories have been subject to increased coca cultivation between 2001 and 2012. Alternative development programs have not been well aligned with such areas where other illegal activities such as mining as well as coca cultivation now occur. Hence the importance of designing anti-drug policy that comprehensively integrates the local nuances of those peoples and places affected by coca cultivation and crop eradication according to their particular contexts.


Publication title

International Journal of Drug Policy








School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


Elsevier BV

Place of publication


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Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Expanding knowledge in human society

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