Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Coca cultivation and counter-drug efforts in the Andean Region

Yesterday, the Department of State released its 2010 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. This annual report submitted to Congress "describes the efforts of key countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade in Calendar Year 2009."

Volume I of the 2010 report includes new statistics on the coca cultivation and counter-drug efforts in the Andean region. Here are our most up-to-date statistics on the war on drugs in the Andean region. Click on each graphic to see a bigger version.


U.S. estimate of coca cultivation in the Andean region from 1999 to 2008.

Cultivation trends:

  • Coca cultivation in the Andes has changed very little over the past decade.
  • Coca cultivation in Colombia decreased by 28.7% from 2007 to 2008, while the number of hectares of coca cultivation increased in both Peru and Bolivia by 13.8% and 8.5% respectively.
  • The U.S. estimate indicates that coca cultivation in Bolivia increased 9.4% from 2008 to 2009, from 32,000 hectares to 35,000 hectares. The data for Colombia and Peru has yet to be released.
  • UNODC estimate of coca cultivation from 1999 to 2008.

  • The UN Office on Drugs and Crime also measures a decrease from 2007 to 2008 in total coca cultivation in the Andean region, though the number of hectares varies from the U.S. estimate for each country. The UN shows more hectares of coca in Peru and less in Colombia and Bolivia.

  • U.S. estimate of potential pure cocaine production in Colombia, Bolivia and Peru from 1998 to 2008, measured in tons. Again, the United States reports 2009 numbers for Bolivia, but not for Peru or Colombia.

    Production trends:

  • From 1998 to 2008, cocaine production in Colombia, Bolivia and Peru remained little changed. Though the U.S. data shows a significant 39% drop in Colombia's potential pure cocaine production from 2007 to 2008 - from 485 tons to 295 tons. The UN data does not indicate such a drastic drop for Colombia, though the total tonnage for Colombia still decreases 28% from 2007 to 2008.
  • Bolivia's total potential cocaine production increases 50% from 2007 to 2008. The 2010 Strategy Report attributes this increase to more efficient production methods in Bolivia:

    Over the last couple of years, Bolivian CN units, as well as DEA (prior to its departure), have observed a steady increase in the use of the more efficient “Colombian” methods for cocaine production during lab seizures, including use of mechanized coca maceration and solvents, instead of acids for alkaloid extraction.

  • UNODC estimate of cocaine production in Colombia, Bolivia and Peru from 1997 to 2008.


    U.S. statistics on the interdiction rate in Colombia from 1998 to 2009 - measured in both tons of coca paste/base and tons of cocaine seized.

    Interdiction trends:

  • The total amount of cocaine and coca paste/base seized decreased from 2008 to 2009.
  • When the data for 2009 are looked at separately, seizures of coca paste/base increased by 2.2% while seizures of cocaine decreased by 26.8%.

  • The number of hectares of coca eradicated in Colombia from 1998 to 2009 through both manual and aerial eradication.

    Eradication trends:

  • 2009 saw a significant 28% decline in total hectares of coca eradicated.
  • 2009 is the first year the total number of hectares of coca eradicated manually has decreased since 2004. From 2004 to 2008 manual eradication increased from year to year, however from 2008 to 2009 it decreased by 36.8% - from 95,731 hectares to 60,500 hectares.
  • Eradication reached a record high in 2008, with nearly 230,000 hectares of coca eradicated manually or by air. The 2010 Strategy Report credits the aerial and manual eradication operations in 2008 for the decline in pure cocaine production from 2007 to 2008 (as shown in the "Cocaine Production - U.S. estimate" graph above).