Alternative Program Faces Growing Challenges
prices for coca leaf are undermining US-backedprograms that have contributtdramaticcoca cultivationoca leaf prices since last summeras traffickers have grown more resourceful in developingin Europe, Mexico, and Brazil and in avoiding
As higher prices diminish the appeal of alternativeforfarmers, forced eradication will become moresustaining reductions in the
eradication, mosUy of abandoned coca Gelds. last year accounted tor half of die reduction in areas under coca cultivation.
Field abandonment, supported by alternative dtvdopment programs, accounted for more thanercent of the reduction during tbe previous three years.
Press reports indicate farmers ere returning to abandoned coca fields to take advantage of tbe higher prices.
Government support for the eradication program may wane as President Fujimori focuses onhird term in the election next year. Fujimori early this year denied the US the use of Peruorward operating location for counterdrug missions in response to opposition charges that it would diminish Peruvian sovereignty.
In addition, spontaneous resistance by some farmers to
eradication efforts has increased in recent months, suggesting more militant fanners will urge others not to accept alternative
Remnants of the Sendero luminoso insurgency areuch diminished presenceew coca production areas, judgbigfrom press