HomeNewsBriefBolivia Reduces Coca Crop for Second Straight Year: UN
BRIEF

Bolivia Reduces Coca Crop for Second Straight Year: UN

BOLIVIA / 8 AUG 2013 BY STEVEN DUDLEY EN

Bolivia has reduced coca production for the second straight year, according to a United Nations study, a trend that the UN attributes to government efforts to contain illegal production of the crop.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says Bolivia’s coca production dropped by 7 percent from 2011 to 2012. (See full report in PDF) This follows an 11 percent reduction from the year before.

The biggest drop came in the largest coca growing region of the country known as Yungas de la Paz, which went from 18,200 hectares to 16,900 hectares, according to the UNODC. 

The agency says that two major factors played a role in the drop: 1) the government’s efforts to “eradicate/rationalize” the size of the fields; 2) the drop in yield due to the long periods in which the fields have been cultivated.

Bolivia allows 11,000 hectares of coca to be grown legally for local sale and consumption in traditional forms.

bolivia coca graph unodc story

InSight Crime Analysis

The results may surprise some in the US government who say that Bolivia is not complying with its commitments to lower drug production and trafficking. Bolivia has expelled most US anti-narcotics agencies, while the US announced in May it was shutting down its last remaining offices there.

Still, there are some contradictory figures in the report. The price of coca went down five percent, according to the UNODC, a fact that could suggest an increase in supply.

Seizures of cocaine paste and processed cocaine, or cocaine hydrochloride (HCl), also went in opposite directions. Cocaine paste seizures rose significantly, according to the report, suggesting that Bolivia is becoming a more regular supplier of the rising crack cocaine markets in neighboring Argentina and Brazil.

HCl seizures, meanwhile, were down, which may not necessarily mean that cocaine production has dropped. What is not known -- and what the UNODC says it is studying -- is the current yield of Bolivian coca. Still, the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, in its most recent statement on cocaine production in the region, says that overall production of cocaine in Bolivia is down to an estimated 155 metric tons, from 190 metric tons in 2011.

In Colombia, yields have risen even while the number of hectares under coca cultivation has dropped, accounting for the steady production of HCl throughout this period when one would expect a more dramatic drop in cocaine production.

The report also follows the declaration of another major export industry leader, coffee, that its producers were switching to coca. That declaration was, however, more speculative than scientific.

Bolivia Coca Crops (Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)

bolivia coca boliviamap unodc story

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCA / 2 JUN 2016

The capture of an alleged EPL financier in Catatumbo, Colombia could be a major setback for the guerrilla group’s operations…

BOLIVIA / 12 MAY 2011

The director of the U.S. Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) office in Bolivia has called for the two countries to work…

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 SEP 2019

Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández assumed the presidency as a so-called “crime fighter” that the United States could collaborate closely…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.