Colombia is synonymous for quality coffee. As the third largest coffee producing country in the world, high temperatures and heavy rainfall are what make Colombia the ideal habitat for the coffee plant. However, it’s not just the ideal growing situation for coffee. The coca plant has long been farmed and cultivated to create the addictive and illegal drug, cocaine. During the 70s, 80s, and 90s—drug cartels created an illegal industry which incited mass violence, corruption and overall heartache.

A farmer cleans a coca crop in Cauca, Colombia, on Jan. 27, 2017. Credit: Jaime Saldarriaga/Reuters

But what about the farmers? Many of the farm lands were controlled by cartels and rebel groups.

“For decades the drug trade funded the FARC, the country’s largest rebel group, which controlled key regions where coca leaf and cocaine production flourished. The organization was formed in 1964 to fight for land rights and to protect rural communities.” – PRI

Luckily, things are changing. In the past year, the UN has penned a deal worth over $300 million with Colombia to help transition traditional coca farming areas to coffee.

Farmers will be compensated if they switch from growing coca (shown) to safer crops Credit: BBC

“Currently, farmers earn $300 (£230) a month for every hectare of coca they grow. This initiative will provide compensation to farmers if they revert to producing safer crops, such as coffee and cacao.” – BBC

We hope that this initiative will continue to help slow down the drug trade, but also give us new high quality coffees.

 

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