The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime revealed part of report detailing that coca cultivation in Colombia has risen to 146,000 hectares in 2016 from 96,000 hectares in 2015.
In the full document that will be published next Friday, the UN urges the Colombian government to take more effective measures to prevent the accelerated growth of this problem.
The greatest growth of crops have allegedly been in the Nariño, Norte de Santander and Choco, province where the demobilized FARC guerrilla group had major territorial control and abandoned criminal activities in mid last year.
Coca cultivation in Colombia
The FARC’s demobilization and the military’s failing to effectively take control of these areas caused a power vacuum soon filled by rival or dissident guerrilla, paramilitary and drug trafficking groups.
In the Nariño territory alone the cultivation of coca went from from being 29,000 hectares two years ago to 46,000 hectares last year.
The Colombian government and the United Nations Office on Crime and Drugs (UNODC) has launched a coca substitution program as part of Colombia’s peace process with the FARC guerrilla group in which 75,000 families have agreed to eradicate more than 79,000 hectares of coca crops, more than half of the hectares measured by the UN.
Colombia is the world’s #1 producer of cocaine, according to both the US State Department and the UNODC.
While nobody knows exactly how much coca is cultivated and how much cocaine is produced and subsequently exported, both the United Nations and the United States make annual estimations of the size of the illicit industry.