Coca crops grew by 13% in Colombia and reached 230,000 hectares in 2022, which is the highest historical figure for the second consecutive year, and also an increase in potential cocaine production, revealed this Monday the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (Unodc, acronym in English) in its annual report.
“For the second year in a row, coca cultivation reached a record high in Colombia,” revealed Unodc, who reported that there are 26,000 cultivated hectares more than the 204,000 registered in 2021.
The document also warns of a 24% increase in the potential production of cocaine hydrochloride, since last year it was 1,738 tons and in 2021 it had been 1,400 tons.
In this regard, the agency stated that “The trend of increasing potential cocaine production continues as a result of more hectares planted with coca, plots at more productive ages and located in areas with higher productivity”.
According to Unodc, The most worrying situation is in the department of Putumayo, on the border with Peru and Ecuador, where coca crops have skyrocketed by 77%..
The situation is so critical in this region, where various dissident factions of the former FARC operate, that the increase in the area planted with coca in Colombia without counting Putumayo was barely 3%.
On the other hand, the office pointed out that 65% of coca crops are concentrated in three departments: Narino (on the border with Ecuador), Norte de Santander (on the border with Venezuela) and Putumayo.
Another revealing fact from the report is that there is coca planted in 185 of the 1,122 municipalities in Colombia and that the town with the most crops is Tibu, in Norte de Santander, with 22,000 hectares, which did not show any variation.
“Followed by Tumaco (Narino) and Puerto Asis (Putumayo), which increased their area with coca by more than 6,500 hectares together in the last year,” the information added.
On the other hand, the Unodc document highlights that 49% of the crops are located in special management areas, distributed in National Natural Parks (21.5%), indigenous reservations (18%), lands of black communities (4% ) and forest reserves (2%).
In the report, Unodc also published the “interventions for supply control reported by the National Government.”
According to these figures, last year 106.7 tons of cocaine base paste were seized, which represented an increase of 20% compared to the 88.6 tons of 2021.
However, cocaine seizures stood at 659.1 tons in 2022, a drop of 1.5% compared to the previous year, although the organizations are reducing cocaine shipments and producing it from base paste in the countries of arrival to reduce losses.
The number of dismantled illegal laboratories also fell by 18%, from 5,750 in 2021 to 4,707 in 2022.