Camilo Uribe Granja, of the U.N.’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said that 2009 was instrumental in the war on drugs, as it was the first time Colombia’s illegal drug cultivation had successfully been reduced across the whole country, resulting in lower production of cocaine.
Speaking to RCN Radio Uribe said recent figures show that “the war [on drugs] is not going to be won, but neither is it being lost.”
Colonel Henry Gamboa, deputy director of the Colombia’s Narcotics Police, quoted recent U.N. statistics showing that illicit crops fell in 2009 from around 80,000 to 68,000 hectares.
The official told RCN that 68,000 hectares had the capacity to produce 410 tons of pure cocaine.
Colombia’s decreased levels of land under coca cultivation stem from the country’s vast illicit crop eradication program, a part of Plan Colombia, the U.S. financed, multi-billion dollar aid program aimed at fighting the drug trade and leftist insurgents in the Andean nation.
The U.N. report claimed that Peru had overtaken Colombia as the world’s leading coca leaf producer, claiming 45.4% of the world’s production of the crop to Colombia’s 39.3%. The body was forced to revise this claim, however, as in terms of land dedicated to cultivation of the crop as well as pure cocaine production, Colombia retains its position as the world’s largest coca producer.