Devida: 80 percent of Peru-produced drugs are shipped abroad via its seaports

Approximately 80 percent of drugs produced in Peru are shipped abroad via the Andean country’s Chimbote, Salaverry and Paita ports, said Rómulo Pizarro, President of Peru’s National Commission for the Development of Life without Drugs, or Devida.

According to Pizarro, drug traffickers have turned to the country’s seaports because security and drug seizures have increased at Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport.

Since January 2009, more than 10 tons of drugs – mainly cocaine, coca paste, marijuana and opium destined for the Spanish market – have been seized by Peru’s National Police.

“Drugs are being smuggled by air, sea, rivers and by land,” said Teddy Bartra Arévalo, Director of Peru’s police drug enforcement unit, or Dirandro. “Drugs are being seized everywhere, and our efforts are constant.”

But, according to Pizarro, “dealing with drugs isn’t easy, especially when dealing with very limited resources.”

Peru was, until 1996, the world’s largest coca leaf producer, and is now the world’s second largest producer of coca leaf, though it still lags behind Colombia.

Peru slashed its production by 70 percent between 1995 and 2001 primarily because of low coca prices, interdiction, forced eradication of coca fields and programs that encourage farmers to grow alternative crops.

But by 2002, the number of hectares used to illegally grow coca in Peru increased as efforts to eradicate the crop in Colombia forced production southward.

This can be explained, in part, by the balloon effect, or the drug fields’ tendency to shift elsewhere and sometimes to smaller and harder-to-reach plots in response to local eradication campaigns, and the fact that for farmers, the coca harvest provides more money than any other crop: up to five times as much can be earned for a kilogram of coca than for a kilogram of coffee.

In June 2008, a study conducted by Devida and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime indicated that coca crops had increased by 4.5 percent in 2007 and that approximately 92 percent of Peruvian coca production is destined for the fabrication of cocaine paste and cocaine hydrochloride.

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