Coca production in Colombia

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Coca eradication in Colombia.

In 2012, coca production in Colombia amounted to 0.2% of Colombia's overall GDP and 3% of Colombia's GDP related to the agricultural sector.[1] The great majority of cultivation takes place in the departments of Putumayo, Caquetá, Meta, Guaviare, Nariño, Antioquia, and Vichada.[2]


Before the 1990s, harvesting coca leaves had been a relatively small-scale business in Colombia.[3] Though Peru and Bolivia dominated coca-leaf production in the 1980s and early 1990s, manual-eradication campaigns there, the successful rupture of the air bridge that previously facilitated the illegal transport of Bolivian and Peruvian coca leaf to Colombia, and a fungus that wiped out a large percentage of Peru's coca crops made it more difficult for the cartels to obtain coca from these countries.[4]

In response, Colombia's drug cartels purchased land in Colombia to expand local production, pushing coca cultivation into areas of southern Colombia controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).[5][4] Colombia replaced Bolivia and Peru as the primary producer of coca leaf between 1996 and 1997.[4]

With only 14 percent of the global coca-leaf market in 1991, by 2004 Colombia was responsible for 80 percent of the world's cocaine production.[3] One estimate has Colombia's coca cultivation hectarage growing from 13,000 in the mid-1980s, to 80,000 hectares in 1998, to 99,000 in 2007.[3]

Another estimate has Colombia's coca cultivation hectarage growing from 40,100 in 1990 to 163,300 in 2000, but dropping to 78,000 in 2007 as a result of government eradication programs.[2] However, any effect of these eradication programs has been tempered by increases in productivity: Colombia's estimated coca production grew from 463 metric tons in 2001 to 610 metric tons in 2006.[2]

As of 2006, coca production in Colombia employed an estimated 67,000 households.[2]


The environment is damaged through deforestation caused by clearing fields for coca cultivation.[6] Soil erosion and chemical pollution also have effects on Colombia. The issues are difficult to address because of the wealth and power of drug traffickers. [7]



  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d Robert Steiner and Hernan Vallejo. "Illegal drugs". In Hudson.
  3. ^ a b c Ann C. Mason. "Internal Armed Conflict". In Hudson.
  4. ^ a b c Arlene B. Tickner. "Internal armed conflict and peace negotiations." In Hudson.
  5. ^ Ann C. Mason. "Drug trafficking and the origins of paramilitarism". In Hudson.
  6. ^ "Cocaine destroying rainforest parks in Colombia". Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  7. ^ "Coca and Colombian Environment (COLCOCA Case)". Retrieved 2009-03-21. 

Works cited[edit]