FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
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Op Buccaneer VII Scoprion 91' - 92'
Jamaica's subtropical climate makes the entire island ideal for cannabis cultivation. "Ganja," as marijuana is popularly called there, traditionally is harvested in two main annual seasons, of five to six month cycles. However, the indica variety matures in three to four months, making four harvests possible. Large-scale cultivation of five to fifty acre plots were once common. However, because of eradication measures, most cultivation is now done in plots one acre or less, with yields of about 1,485 pounds per hectare. Ganja production in Jamaica rose continuously until, in response to United States pressure and with its assistance, eradication measures began to reduce cultivation. The campaign, called Operation BUCCANEER, was undertaken annually. Initially, the campaign had dramatic success, with a drop in production from an estimated 405 metric tons in 1988 to 190 metric tons in 1989. However, shifts in cultivation patterns, a change in variety and reduced resources for aerial spraying led to a rebound in the 1990s. Although the operation eradicated about 1,000 hectares of marijuana in 1990, cultivation actually 27 Spring 1993 expanded from 280 hectares in 1989 to 1,220 hectares in 1990." Aerial spraying of cannabis in Jamaica is more controversial than in Belize because marijuana is an even larger source there. One estimate for the 1980s placed the number of farmers cultivating the crop at 6,000. In the late 1980s it is said to have contributed between US $1 and US $2 billion to the island's foreign exchange earnings, in excess of all other exports combined, including bauxite, sugar, and tourism.