Colombia’s coca crops grew to historic levels in 2021

BARRIO – Colombian lands planted with coca, the plant from which cocaine is made, reached their highest levels in two decades last year, a United Nations agency has said in an annual report.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on Thursday that the area growing coca in Colombia shot up 43 percent from 2020, to 204,000 hectares (500,000 acres) in 2021.

Potential cocaine production also reached record levels last year at 1,400 tonnes, up 14 percent from 2020, the agency said.

That continued an upward production trend that dates back to 2014 while the uptick in the area planted with coca was the first in three years.

Bogota has been advised to improve security for communities transitioning to legal crops and increase social spending.

Colombia has long been the world’s largest producer of cocaine, a highly addictive drug that is illegal in most countries, and it has faced pressure, notably from the United States, to crack down on production.

But government efforts to get farmers to move away from illegal coca crops have faced a series of challenges, including a lack of promised subsidies and other incentives.

Many poor Colombians involved in coca farming say they have no other choice.

It seems like the war on drugs has been going on in Colombia forever. Let’s hope they figure it out in the very near future.

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