After two years of unchanging levels of coca production in Colombia, 2014 saw an increase in coca cultivation of approximately 20%, according to the country’s Ministry of Defense.
The Ministry’s conclusion was based on statistics taken by the Integrated System of Monitoring of Illicit Crops (SIMCI), which indicated an increase in coca production of 10,000 hectares from 48,000 hectares in 2013 to 58,000 hectares in 2014.
The United States’ Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) conducted their own study as well and concluded that with coca cultivation, cocaine production also increased.
According to the ONDCP, cocaine production went up by approximately 30%, with 185 metric tons produced in 2013 compared with 245 metric tons in 2014.
Colombia coca cultivation
The release of these figures comes at a time when the role of glyphosate, the likely-carcinogenic chemical used in the fumigation of coca plants, is being hotly debated in the Colombian political environment.
An increase in coca production despite heavy glyphosate use in the recent past suggests that the chemical is not as effective at eradicating coca plants as many are led to believe.
“The effectiveness of aerial spraying of glyphosate is much smaller than we tend to think,” said Prosecutor General Eduardo Montealegre. “…the policy against drugs based on the pursuit of illicit crops has been a resounding failure, suggesting it is time to reorient the strategy.” he added.
The disappointing statistics of 2014 will no doubt lend support to the government’s alleged recent decision to ban glyphosate use.
The apparent ineffectiveness of the substance, coupled with the notable health risks associated with its use, will make it hard to justify continued aerial spraying in Colombia.
Aún con fumigación, se disparan los cultivos de coca (La Silla Vacia)
Cultivos ilícitos subieron en el 2014 (El Tiempo)