The production of cocaine in Colombia has continued to decline throughout 2012, the United States said Wednesday.
According to the annual US government report on drugs, Colombia ceased to be the largest producer of cocaine, replaced by Peru for the second consecutive year.
The State Department International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, the production of cocaine in Colombia fell from 190 to 175 tons. Peru’s production decreased from 305 to 290 tons while Bolivia experienced a reduction of almost 20%, from 190 to 155 tons.
Cocaine production in the Andean region
The report also showed a reduction in illicit crops in Colombia, falling from 83,000 hectares in 2011 to 78,000 hectares in 2012. This reduction is representative of the Nariño, Cauca and Antioquia departments, while there was an increase in the departments of Putumayo and Norte de Santander.
Coca cultivation in Colombia
According to the State Department, cocaine production in the Andean region fell 10% between 2011 and 2012, and stands at 620 tons. In total, Washington stated that cocaine production has decreased 41% in the Andean region since 2001, when production stood at a record 1,055 tons.
In Colombia, cocaine production has dropped 75%, from 700 tons in 2001, to 175 tons in 2012.
The US attributed this success to several factors, including a strong alliance with Colombia throughout the last decade during Plan Colombia. This, according to Washington, resulted in the strengthening of democratic institutions, high presence of the state in coca growing areas, the weakening of drug cartels, alternative development plans in coca-growing regions and improvements in the judicial system.
These advances have reduced the amount of cocaine entering US cities. The most recent national drugs survey in the US found a drop of 44 percent among cocaine users over 12 since 2006, a reduction of 28% in the purity of the drug available on the streets and a drop of 65% among adults who tested positive when tested in the workplace.
Estimates of coca cultivation and subsequent cocaine production differ greatly depending on the source; According to the UN, Colombia produced 345 tons of cocaine in 2011, while the US estimated that to be 195 tons.