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.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

BOLIVIA / 12 APR 2016

Security officials in Bolivia have created a database of where the country's gangs operate as part of a broader push…

BOLIVIA / 1 JUL 2016

Authorities in Brazil and Bolivia carried out a joint operation against a group suspected of international drug trafficking in the…

MONEY LAUNDERING / 1 JUL 2013

Peruvian authorities have dismantled a Colombian money laundering network that allegedly moved $10 million per month through illegal loans, raising…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…