According to the official report released on Tuesday which titled Peru as the new king of coca, Colombia produced 103,000 tons of coca leaf in 2009, and Peru produced 119,000 tons.
Humberto Chirinos, an official from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Peru, argued on Wednesday that Colombia measures the amount of coca leaves produced after they are dried in microwaves, while Peru measures leaves dried in the sun, and if Colombia had been using Peru’s system for measuring the amount of coca leaf produced, it would have come out on top.
According to Chirinos, if Colombian coca leaves had been sun-dried, than they would have weighed 149,000 tons, while Peru’s official statistic for its sun-dried coca leafs is only 128,000 tons, leaving Colombia as the world leader in coca production.
The discrepancy between the two measurements from Peru stem from the report not including the 9,000 tons of legal coca that the country produces.
The U.N. official also admitted that quantifying the amount of coca produced is highly technical and open to interpretation, and as a result is not the most objective way to compare countries’ coca production. Instead, he suggested, comparing the amount of land dedicated to the cultivation of coca is the best way to compare countries.
If measured by this metric, Colombia would still retain the “king of coca” title, with 68,000 hectares of land used for cultivation in 2009 compared to Peru’s 59,000.