UN: Peru's coca production up, rivaling crops in Colombia

By: Associated press Email
By: Associated press Email

LIMA, Peru (AP) – A United Nations report says Peru is edging closer to Colombia as the world's leading producer of coca, the raw material of cocaine.

The World Body's Office of Drugs and Crime said that overall coca cultivation fell 5.3 percent last year in the world's three leading coca-producing nations - Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. The agency attributed this mostly to a 16 percent drop in acreage in Colombia.

That put the overall area under coca cultivation at 231 square miles in Peru against 263 square miles for Colombia. The total for Bolivia was 119 square miles. The U.N. figures are based on satellite images and field visits.

The size of Peru's coca crop has nearly doubled in the past decade. The director of the country's anti-drug agency acknowledged “a sense of frustration” at the steady increase despite manual eradication and alternative development.

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