Coca cultivation increases in Peru for fifth-consecutive year

Peruvian land used to cultivate coca, the raw material required to process cocaine, has increased this year, while global coca cultivation has seen a reduction, according to the UN’s World Drug Report 2011.

Peru saw a 2% increase in the area under coca cultivation last year to 61,200 hectares from 59,900ha in 2009, the report says.

The increase comes amid a diverging cultivation trend in two of Peru’s top coca growing regions – the Upper Huallaga Valley, located in Huanuco region, and the Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAE), which includes 31 districts in the departments of Ayacucho, Cuzco, Huancavelica and Junin.

The Upper Huallaga was Peru’s top coca growing region until 2009 when it was displaced by the VRAE. In 2010, the region saw a 4,500ha decrease in area for coca cultivation due to eradication and crop substitution efforts.

Meanwhile, in the VRAE, which is now the country’s top coca growing region, the area under coca rose 2,200ha to 19,700ha.

During the past decade, Peru’s land under coca cultivation has jumped 41 percent from 43,400ha in 2000.

The increase is contrasted with neighbouring Colombia, which has seen a steady decrease in coca cultivation during the past 10 years. In 2000, Colombia land under coca totaled 163,300ha and last year it was at 57,000ha, a 65 percent decrease.

Colombia’s decrease in cultivation has come with increased eradication efforts. In 2010, 43,792ha were eradicated manually and 101,939ha were eradicated by spraying. This is in deep contrast to Peru, where manual eradication has only taken out 12,253ha of coca.

The decrease in Colombia has resulted in a global decline of coca cultivation by 6% year-on-year to 149,100ha in 2010.

The other main producer of coca is Bolivia. However data on its cultivation for last year was not available when the report went to print. In 2009, Bolivian territory under coca cultivation was 30,900ha.

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