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Coca crops in Colombia reach a new record and the UN explains why


In 2022, the planted area occupied 204.000 hectares (ha), which represented an increase of 43 % Over the previous year.

In 2022, coca cultivation and production in Colombia reached its highest point in the last 10 years, according to the monitoring carried out by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for the Andean region and the southern cone.

Last year, the area planted with coca in Colombian territory occupied 460.000 hectares (ha), which represented an increase of 28 % compared to 2014, when 143.000 ha, according to the ‘Monitoring Report on Territories Affected by Illicit Crops ( 2020)’, presented this Thursday in Bogotá.

“The production of cocaine maintains the tendency to increase, a situation that is consolidating from 2014″, said Candice Welsch, director of the office of the Andean region and the southern cone of UNODC.

“The 45 % of total coca is found in only 10 municipalities In these regions, in previous years, a reduction was reported in the area with coca and the forced eradication intervention was concentrated”: @CandiceWelsch, @UNODCROCOL

— UNODC Andean Region and Southern Cone (@UNODCROCOL) October 20, 2022

Why the increase?

About it , the study explains that the increase in crops and production of this plant could be due to three factors: the positioning of new criminal actors ; the deterioration of the socioeconomic conditions due to the covid pandemic-20; and the reduction of government intervention to deal with the production of illicit drugs.


According to the report, the 62 % of coca crops are concentrated in the departments of Nariño (southeast), Norte de Santander (northeast) and Putumayo (southwest). In detail, the 45 % of the total of planting this plant is focused on only 10 municipalities, with Tibú at the head, occupying some 22.09 hectares.

Also, the 41 % of the coca is located in the so-called productive enclaves, which refer to the place where there are more hectares of coca per square kilometer and the lots are more efficient , a factor that has been maintained for more than four years.

In these sites, a “greater flow of financial resources is perceived that stimulates trade and allows access to goods and services that , without the illicit activity, they would not have been consolidated,” according to the report.

On the other hand, Welsch highlighted that in the areas with forced eradication, despite having an initial decrease, “coca quickly returns to pre-intervention levels.”


The regional director of UNODC affirmed that coca crops and cocaine production threaten “the cultural potential of the country and its biodiversity”


“Near to 50 % of the coca is located in special management areas, a high percentage is concentrated in the lands of black communities and in forest reserve areas,” Welsch said.


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