Cocaine production hits record levels
March 16, 2023 - Coca cultivation rose by 35% between 2020 and 2021 to record levels as demand rebounded following Covid lockdowns, a UN report says.
Coca cultivation soared 35 per cent from 2020 to 2021, a record high and the sharpest year-to-year increase since 2016.
The rise is a result of both an expansion in coca bush cultivation and improvements in the process of converting coca bush to cocaine hydrochloride, the drug which is then sold on the streets.
Despite record cocaine seizures of nearly 2,000 tons in 2021, anti-narcotics efforts have only slowed down the growth of cocaine smuggling as it continues to meet the rapacious global demand for the drug.
Overall, the the report found Europe and North America are the largest markets for cocaine, followed by South and Central America and the Caribbean.
The growing global demand for production has been met by a surge in coca cultivation in Bolivia, Peru, and particularly, Colombia.