It was the murder — execution-style, in broad daylight — of a friend and fellow farmer in the Colombian countryside that prompted German Sanchez to finally heed government calls to get out of the cocaine trade and plant cocoa instead. Six years later, market forces, more than concerns about personal safety, are persuading him not to switch back.

Prices for cocoa, the raw material used to produce chocolate, are climbing in international markets, lining the pockets of Andean farmers. Sanchez says he's getting about 6,800 pesos ($2.31) this year for a kilogram of cocoa beans, compared with 5,000 pesos last year and about 3,000 pesos in 2012.

Coca, the source of cocaine, "caused a lot of bloodshed," said the widower, a father of two. "Family members were killed and others ended up in jail. The economic revenues didn't justify the risk."