Colombia is the world’s #1 producer of cocaine, according to both the U.S. State Department and the United Nations’ office on Drugs and Crime.
While nobody exactly knows 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.
In 2016, Colombia had 188,000 hectares of coca cultivation according to the United States.
This coca production would have produced 1,392 tons of cocaine.
Coca cultivation in Colombia in hectares
Coca is grown across Colombia, but most intensely in areas where there has been a chronic state abandonment, either due to neglect of the state or because of heightened presence by leftist rebel groups like the FARC or ELN who tax coca growers and in some areas buy the leafs to turn them into coca paste.
In its annual report, The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) provides relatively accurate maps on where the density of coca crops is highest.
Coca cultivation density in 2015
Regional coca cultivation maps
The areas most affected by coca cultivation are the Pacific coast, particularly the Nariño province in the southwest, the southern Putumayo province on the Ecuadorean border, the Catatumbo region on the Venezuelan border and the central Meta and Guaviare provinces.
Coca cultivation in the Sierra Nevada on the Caribbean coast, the Amazon region and the eastern plans are increasingly less popular for coca growth.