Colombia Defense Minister confirms that coca production continues to rise

Colombia’s Minister for Defense on Tuesday confirmed that coca production in the South American country continues to rise despite ongoing government efforts to curb it.

Luis Carlos Villegas responded to a report by the United States Drug Office that 188,000 hectares of coca was grown in 2016 by admitting that the government face a “big challenge” in the struggle against cocaine production and drug trafficking.

The latest figure flies in the face of the many programs put in place by the Colombian government to curb the trend including “Plan Colombia,” a massive US aid package that has been providing millions of dollars to the fight since 2000.

“Since 2012 there is a phenomenon of growth that must be combated, with the combination of substitution and eradication, with a very strong policy of interdiction, especially of laboratories, precursor, pure cocaine and money derived from its sale abroad,” said Villegas, reported RCN News.

Villegas claims that the increase in coca production in 2016 is a result of some…