Peru's Government Questions Data On Coca

Peru News 056. Peru News 056 - June 2010

Peruvian authorities have questioned the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report which shows an increase in Peru’s coca leaf production. According to this report, if “the current trend continues, Peru will soon overtake Colombia as the world’s biggest coca producer”.

Coca leaves are the raw material used to make cocaine. Peru’s tropical valleys make coca growing easier. The most well known coca production regions are the Upper Huallaga Valley in Huánuco region, where 17,497 ha were used to produce coca in 2009. Coca bush cultivation in Peru stood at 59,900 hectares in 2009, which shows an increase of nearly 7% compared to 2008 (56,100 ha). Meanwhile Colombia shows a 16% decrease in coca bush cultivation for the same time period, this equates to 68,000 hectares; whilst Bolivia has recorded an increase of 1% to 30,900 ha.

Foreign Secretary José Antonio García Belaunde expressed his concerns about the report saying that "there are inconsistencies." He added: “There is a problem with the figures that needs to be adjusted," referring to the UNODC’s report and emphasised that they differ from the ones that both the government and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office have.

The Foreign Secretary also believes that other countries where drugs are consumed bear some responsibility and that many of these countries have reduced aid to Peru over recent years. "Unfortunately, they are leaving us alone. There is increasingly less international aid," he said.

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