BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Coca cultivation reached an all-time high in Colombia last year, the U.N. said, as the administration of President Gustavo Petro struggles to reduce poverty in remote areas and contain armed groups that are profiting from the cocaine trade.
The new findings on coca growing were published over the weekend by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime, which said 230,000 hectares (nearly 570,000 acres) of farmland in Colombia were planted with coca in 2022, a 13% increase from the previous year.
The South American nation is the world’s largest exporter of cocaine, which is made from coca leaves. Colombia provides 90% of the cocaine sold in the United States each year.
Colombia’s government said Monday that the amount of land planted with coca is increasing at a slower pace than in previous years. It hopes new programs that provide greater economic incentives for farmers to adopt legal crops will help reduce cocaine production in coming years.
Source : apnews