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April 2004
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War on Drugs hurting U.S. asparagus farmers

Thanks to T Chris at TalkLeft and a tip of the hat to Jeff:
This
New York Times Article points out:

To reduce the flow of cocaine into this country by encouraging farmers in Peru to grow food instead of coca, the United States in the early 1990’s started to subsidize a year-round Peruvian asparagus industry, and since then American processing plants have closed and hundreds of farmers have gone out of business. …

“We’ve created this booming asparagus industry in Peru, resulting in the demise of a century-old industry in America,” said Alan Schreiber, director of the Washington Asparagus Commission. “And I’ve yet to hear anyone from the government tell me with a straight face that it has reduced the amount of cocaine coming into this country.” …

“We’re a victim of the drug war,” said Mr. McKay, 73. “It seems like we still got plenty of cocaine coming into this country, but now we got cheap asparagus as well.”

So, we’re using our taxpayer money to pay farmers in another country to undercut our own farmers, in an effort to prevent them from growing…

“The irony is that they didn’t plow under the coke to plant asparagus in Peru,” said John Bakker, executive director of the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board. “If you look at that industry in Peru and where it’s growing, it has nothing to do with coca leaf growers becoming normal farmers. Coca leaf is grown in the highlands. The asparagus is near sea level.”

Oh yeah, that policy makes about as much sense as all our drug war policies.

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