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Last Updated:3/31/00
Speech by Rep. Sam Farr (D-California), March 29, 2000
Mr. FARR of California. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I understand that the chairman is reserving a point of order, and what I wanted to do is to explain my amendment and hope that we can work something out in conference here.

This amendment earmarks existing funding for alternative development in the UNDCP, the United Nations Drug Control Program, for the countries of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia.

[TIME: 2000]

The amendment enhances the accountability of this money by requiring that the funding go through USAID, be subject to congressional notification, and be monitored via the regular reporting process.

The reason that it is important that we put this money in is that, indeed, if we are going to eradicate the crops, we have got to teach the camposinos how to grow something as an alternative. Just going in and eradicating crops, it will reappear. So what the UNDCP program has done is very effective and has an approval record in Bolivia and Peru.

In this alternative, development is essentially the ability to wean farmers off growing coca or opium poppy and get them into a constructive alternative agricultural practice.

What also happens to the region is they begin recovery from a drug culture to a legitimate private sector agricultural economy in a rural country and in a rural area; and it allows, essentially, what we have always been trying to promote is democratization, essentially, of building of communities.

So what this amendment does is it takes existing funds and earmarks those to those four countries for the exact same purposes.

Just in closing, I would like to sort of sum up what the UNDCP programs have done. They have had a 78 percent reduction in the hectares of illicit coca in Bolivia in the last 3 years, 78 percent in the last 3 years alone. In 2000, alternative development crops occupy 100,000 hectares of land, an area 10 times greater than that devoted to growing illicit coca.

So this is particularly important as we move into Colombia, eradicate the crops, which is going to be done by the Joint Military National Police and then move in behind them with a program that has a proven track record of being able to work with the camposinos to get them into these alternative programs.

As I said, the money is funded through our United States Department of International Development, and it is subject to notifying us on all aspects of it and keeping us informed with progress reports.

So I would ask that we can get this amendment and work the best we can to get these earmarks in. I think it makes it a stronger bill. We have bipartisan support for this effort.

Mr. Chairman, I am hoping we can get assurance that we can look at this in the conference committee.

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. FARR of California. I yield to the gentleman from Florida.

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Chairman, certainly we, of course, intend to work with the gentleman. We are concerned about the issue, as he is; and we will work with him. This amendment is definitely subject to a point of order. But we understand what he is trying to accomplish, and we will work with him.

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