Colombia offers to buy farmers coca
BOGOTA, Colombia, July 25 (UPI) -- Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has offered to buy illegal coca plants from farmers to stem the drug trade.
Coca is the plant from which cocaine is made.
Uribe told farmers to "hand over the crop and take the cash," El Tiempo reported Monday.
Critics of the program like Colombian Senator Rafael Pardo said the president's plan will in fact worsen the drug trafficking dilemma in Colombia.
"The problem is not the cocaine leaf, it's the transport of the cocaine (used to make it)," Pardo said Monday.
Colombia is the world's largest producer of cocaine and a major supplier of heroin.
The United States has spent $3.3 billion in the last five years on coca plant eradication equipment and military training for Colombian soldiers but seen limited results.
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