Peru To Form Committee To Research Cocaine Output

Peru’s anti-drug agency Devida is to create a working group to measure the country’s potential cocaine production, state news agency Andina reported.

The decision to form the group follows the release of data from the United States this week that says that cocaine output from Colombia decreased significantly last year, and that Peru is now the world’s top cocaine producer.

The U.S. said that Colombia produced 195 tons of pure cocaine in 2011, which would be a 25% decrease from the previous year and down from an estimated 700 tons in 2001. Peru, on the other hand, produced 358 tons of cocaine in 2010, according to the latest U.S. data on the Andean country’s cocaine output.

The U.S. highlighted the drop in Colombian cocaine production as a sign that its anti-drug policy, in particular the multi-billion dollar Plan Colombia financed by the U.S., has worked to cut off the supply of cocaine. The United States is the world’s top consumer of the drug.

The data released from the U.S. backs up what American officials said last year, that Peru had regained its place as the world’s top cocaine producer.   Part of Peru’s growth in production, rather than its earlier role of coca crops for the cocaine industry, is that Colombian drug traffickers fleeing the military anti-drug operations in their country sought refuge in Brazil and Peru.

The U.S. data, however, is in contrast to information released by the United Nations last week, which said that the area in Colombia to produce coca, the raw material used to make cocaine, increased in 2011. That report said, however, that Colombia’s cocaine production remained steady last year.

The divergence in U.S. and UN data has been explained by some experts as differences in methodology in trying to track the illicit market.

As a result, Peru has decided to form the working group in an attempt to gain firm data on its potential cocaine production.

“Peru is firmly committed in taking on… the global problem of drugs and its consequences,” Devida said.

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