The Colombian government has started destroying cocaine plants, with the help of drones loaded with plant-killing chemical glyphosate.

The initiative, forms part of the government’s effort to end the production of cocaine in the country.

As part of the move, the Colombian authorities have partnered with drone company Fumi Drones SAS to provide unmanned aircraft as well as to train the police.

According to German Huertas, the drone company’s director of operations, the drones had eliminated about 90% of the cocaine on each acre (0.4 hectare) targeted during test in the country’s Narino province.

The trial involved the deployment of 10 drones, each weighing 23kg (51lb) and carrying the plant-killing chemical.

The small aircraft loaded with the herbicide are then sent to search for illegal fields of cocaine and destroy it.

However, President Iván Duque indicated that they would ensure that damage to neighbouring crops is kept to a minimum.

The unmanned nature of the drones means confrontations with farmers are unlikely to pose a danger to operating crews, while their size means they can manoeuvre close to the ground to identify illegal crops.

Critics have warned that the approach may be a technological fix to a problem that needs a political solution.

They have therefore urged the government to exercise caution, while relying on technology to fix the problem.