The Farc rebel group relied on cocaine production to fund its insurgency, and controlled much of the industry.  But a joint programme between rebels and the government will offer farmers monthly payments if they voluntarily destroy their crops.  They will also be offered loans and guidance to plant alternatives such as fruit trees and cacao.  The crop substitution programme was agreed as part of Colombia’s peace accord, which was finally ratified in December. The Colombian official responsible for the programme, Rafael Pardo, said the government would invest $340m (£271m), which would benefit 50,000 families. Last year, President Juan Manuel Santos decided to suspend US-backed aerial fumigation of illegal coca crops. The government has set a goal of destroying 100,000 hectares of coca this year, and has yet to rule out other methods to bring coca levels down. But the preferred strategy appears to be winning over the estimated 64,000 peasant families dependent on the coca trade. “This is much more cost-efficient and furthermore ensures that territories are transformed and people’s lives are changed,” Mr Pardo said.

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