Colombian farmers grow wholesome crops instead of cocaine - 24 Jan 2011  
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Colombian farmers grow wholesome crops instead of cocaine. With equipment and training donated by the US government along with assistance from the Colombian government, farmers in the La Macarena region are finding success in transitioning from growing coca leaf, the plant from which the drug cocaine is derived, to nutritious crops like plantain, yucca and papaya. The program has also been assisted by the Colombian military, who have helped ensure the safety of the La Macarena region and farmers. Mr. Jorge Elias Benjumea, a 46-year-old father of three, explained that even though his income has decreased from US$2,800 per month growing coca to US$840 with plantains, his quality of life is better, as he stated, “Coca is a plant that can make you a lot of money, but also gives you a lot of headaches. Everything is different now, more peaceful; I go to bed at night with no worries.”

We thank the Colombian and US governments for their cooperative efforts to create these constructive new avenues for growers. Wishing Mr. Benjumea and all other farmers many such opportunities to replace harmful crops with healthful ones that bring goodness to both families and the global community.
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