A new United Nations report reveals 24% cocaine production in 2022 in Colombia.
The increase stood at 1,915.8 tonnes, eclipsing a 20-year high, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on Monday.
The study also showed that coca crops would cover 568,000 acres in 2022, an increase from 13% the previous year.
Coca is the main ingredient in cocaine, which has largely fueled the armed conflict that has pitted the country against guerrillas for six decades, killing at least 450 people.
During a presentation of the report, UNODC regional director Candice Welsch expressed concerns about the “annual increase in coca crops” in Colombia.
Welsch attributed the increase to increased harvests in Putumayo province, which borders Ecuador. Elsewhere, production was relatively stable.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime released its annual report on Monday detailing a 24 percent increase in cocaine production in Colombia. The study also showed that coca crops would cover 568,000 acres in 2022, an increase from 13% the previous year. Coca leaf pickers are pictured in a field in Nariño, Colombia, on May 12.
Bags containing coca paste, a crude extract of coca leaf, are photographed in a laboratory in Nariño, Colombia, on May 11.
The release of the annual report comes two days after Colombian President Gustavo Petro said Latin America needs to shift the region’s focus from the war on drugs to public health.
The Andean nation’s first left-wing president called the fight against drugs a failure of militarized strategy during his speech at the Latin American and Caribbean Conference on Drugs in Cali, Colombia.
“What I propose is to have a different and unified voice that defends our society, our future and our history and stops repeating a failed speech,” Petro said.
“It is time to rebuild hope and not repeat the bloody and ferocious wars, the misnamed “war on drugs”, which treats drugs as a military problem and not as a health problem for society.”
Countries attending the conference said in a joint statement that demand for illicit drugs must be reduced by educating the public and tackling inequality, poverty, lack of opportunity and violence.
They also agreed on the need to break the harmful links between drug and firearms trafficking, transnational organized crime, illegal logging, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, money laundering money and corruption.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who attended the event, said countries must strengthen family unity with love, fight poverty and encourage the planting of corn, beans, cocoa, coffee, fruit and wood to reduce the area devoted to illicit crops such as marijuana. , as well as opium poppy and coca leaf – raw materials for the manufacture of drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
The Mexican president said Latin American countries must support the United States in its fight against fentanyl out of “moral obligation” and “humanism.”
“They are facing a pandemic,” Lopez Obrador said. “Regardless of our differences, partisan ideas and ideological positions are placed above human rights and the main human right is the right to life.”
Aerial view of coca fields in Nariño, Colombia, February 26, 2020. Coca leaves are the main ingredient in cocaine production
Packages of cocaine are presented to the press on May 29, 2013 in Cali, Colombia.
President Petro’s administration wants to help rural communities voluntarily substitute some 247,105 acres of coca crops over the next four years, an official told Reuters recently.
The president also promised more social investments in production areas and ruled out the resumption of aerial fumigation with the herbicide glyphosate.
Nearly 13 percent of Colombia’s annual deforestation is linked to illicit crops, Environment Minister Susana Muhamad said at a drug conference last week.
The country’s deforestation reached 477 square miles last year, down 29% from 2021.
Falling coca prices caused by oversupply and new production in other regions are contributing to food insecurity in Colombia and causing population displacement, according to a report from the United Nations World Food Program.