Coca cultivation in Colombia 2010

Latin America and the Caribbean

Last week, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, released new data about coca cultivation in Colombia in 2010. According to the new estimates by the U.S. Government, "Colombia is holding the line against coca cultivation after major decreases in 2007 and 2008." In other words, coca cultivation in Colombia has hardly changed since 2008, when cultivation declined from 167,000 hectares under production in 2007 to 119,000 hectares in 2008. In 2010, 116,000 hectares were under cultivation -- a zero percent change from 2009 to 2010 and still more than the recent lows in 2003 and 2004, when only 113,850 and 114,100 hectares of coca were under cultivation.

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The U.S. government has yet to release coca cultivation estimates or Bolivia and Peru in 2010. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), however, puts out another series of estimates based on a somewhat different methodology and is expected to release its 2010 numbers later this week. While the Office of National Drug Control Policy claims that coca cultivation is "holding the line" in Colombia, the UNODC data, according to reports leaked in early May, show a further decrease to 59,000 hectares -- half the U.S. estimate. UN estimates for Bolivia and Peru will likely show an increase in cultivation in both countries, potentially resulting in an increase in overall coca cultivation in the Andean region, despite Colombia's zero change.