The newly elected President Iván Duque as decided to take the fight to get rid of coca plants to a whole new level. The Colombian government has decided to use drones to destroy the coca plants.
The cocaine business has been in the rise in Colombian. The growth of cocoa farms has grown by 160% from 2012 to 2017. The step to destroy coca fields by taking the aerial route is what some tell of as a masterstroke as it ensures that there are no coca crops that can get left out.
Antidrug officials are using drones which carry defoliants which can easily kill the coca plants. Over the recent weeks, 10 drones have already been deployed in the Nariño province. The drones each weigh 50 pounds once they are loaded with the herbicide. With Colombian drones destroying coca fields, a number of new questions have come up.
For instance, what’s next?
President Duque prefers aerial fumigation of the coca plans with drones rather than aircraft. This is because the drones decrease the chances of damaging legal crops within a farm.
Moreover, the drones fly over low altitude making it possible to only destroy coca plants. In the past glyphosate was used to get rid of the coca plants. However, President Duque’s predecessor Juan Manuel Santos prohibited the use of 14 aircraft to fumigate coca plants.
This was due to the increase in complaints that the herbicides used(glycosphate) was harmful to humans. Lawsuits kept on piling up thus prompting the World Health Organization to prohibit the use of this herbicides.
The US government has come in to support the use of glycosphate. The Environmental Protection Agency made last year that the herbicide is unlikely to cause cancer. Thus the use of drones is being pushed by both the US and Colombian governments.
A company called Fumi Drone SAS has already started supplying drones to the police in Marino province. According to German Huertas the director of the company, the drones have the capability to fumigate 90% of coca plants. An operator uses tiny remote controls to navigate over coca plants and bushes.
The use of drones has deemed less expensive than the use of aircraft. However, this does not mean that the drones do not have their disadvantages.
Farmers have made it clear that they are not in for the idea. They want to protect their crops, thus they always end up destroying the drones once they find them. Therefore the Colombian government has to deploy soldiers to ensure that these drones are not destroyed.
Experts have gone ahead to warn the government that it cannot use technology to solve social issues. Many critics believe that to entirely solve the coca plant situation, the government needs to work hand in hand with the locals.
However, it is clear that President Duque is seeking to gain favour with Donald Trump’s government. The use of drones might last a bit longer since it is the most convenient way to fumigate coca plants.