HomeNewsBriefColombia, Peru, Bolivia Plan Unified System to Measure Coca Crops
BRIEF

Colombia, Peru, Bolivia Plan Unified System to Measure Coca Crops

BOLIVIA / 23 MAR 2012 BY HANNAH STONE EN

The three biggest cocaine producers in the world -- Colombia, Peru and Bolivia -- are planning to set up a unified system to measure coca production, to allow proper comparisons between the countries.

Peru's top drug official Carmen Masias said that the decision was taken due to the discrepancies between measurements in coca cultivations in Peru and Colombia in recent years, reports EFE. The scheme will involve setting up teams to oversee the measurement of the crop in each of the three countries.

InSight Crime Analysis

The problems with measuring coca cultivation, and cocaine production, are well documented. Figures diverge massively; for 2009, the US government put the area of coca crops in Colombia at 116,000 hectares, while the UN had a figure of 68,000.

For 2010, the US said Peru's coca cultivation had increased 33 percent from the previous year to 53,000 hectares, while the UN said it had risen only 2 percent, to 61,200 hectares. The magnitude of this divergence, which the 2012 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) attributed to differing methodologies, makes it difficult to accurately assess Peru's coca policies.

However, even if the three governments manage to create a unified crop monitoring system, there are also issues with determining the amount of cocaine produced from a given amount of coca. The latest US statistics say Colombia's coca crops are almost double the size of Peru's, but that Colombia has a potential pure cocaine production of 270 tons, compared to Peru's 325. This is due in part to more mature crops in Peru, as Colombia has carried out more thorough fumigation programs.

Another complication in assessing the Andean countries' drug production is determining how much of the cocaine is of "export quality." The US has said that Peru is the biggest cocaine producer in the world, based on these figures, but the latest INCSR report brings in another variable. It says Peru has the world's highest potential production of pure cocaine, but the second highest production of export quality cocaine, presumably trailing behind Colombia. The report does not say how this is measured, but it likely means Colombian traffickers "cutting" pure cocaine more with other substances before it is exported, giving it more of the drug to export.

Yet another factor that complicates these assessments is the measurement of the dry coca leaf. Peruvian government officials vigorously objected when the UN released a report in 2010 saying Peru had surpassed Colombia in production of dry coca leaf by weight, saying that different drying techniques in the two countries made the figures incompatible.

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

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 2 JUN 2022

Illegal gold mining drives the destruction of Peru's Amazon, where fortune seekers strip forests and leave behind poisonous pools of…

AUC / 8 SEP 2021

As gold prices have skyrocketed, criminal groups once solely dedicated to the trafficking of drugs and arms have moved into…

BOLIVIA / 28 MAY 2021

Bolivia's controversial former interior minister and his chief of staff have both been arrested in the United States on charges…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…