LIMA – The armed forces and National Police have eradicated 17,500 hectares (43,209 acres) of illegal coca crops so far this year, said the head of Peru’s Devida drug enforcement agency, Alberto Otarola.
About one-third of the illegal crops were eradicated in the Amazon jungle along the border with Brazil and Colombia, Otarola told the official Andina news agency.
Some 6,000 hectares (14,814 acres) were cleared of illegal coca plants in the triple border region, the Devida chief said.
Peru should achieve the goal of eradicating 35,000 hectares (86,419 acres) of illegal coca crops this year, Otarola said.
The 2015 goal is “pretty ambitious,” but it can be achieved with “a strong effort and hard work,” Otarola said.
Peru eradicated 32,000 hectares (79,012 acres) of illegal coca crops in 2014, when the initial goal was 30,000 hectares (74,074 acres), Otarola said.
The Andean nation was the world’s largest cocaine producer and second-largest coca grower in 2013, U.S. Treasury Department figures show.