CAMBIOColombia, October 20, 2022

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

Among the reasons for the increase in coca plantings is the failure to implement the Peace Agreements, the arrival of new armed groups, and the reduction of forced eradication.

The United Nations presented a report on illegal plantings as of 2021. In the recent whole year of Iván Duque’s term, the coca increased by 40 %. We report here which areas have the most of these illegal plantings.

The United Nations Office that was set up to oppose drugs and crime (UNODC) this Thursday presented its report on territories affected by coca plantings in 2021. The figures show that they reached 204,000 hectares.

The increase was 40%. In 2020, the data show that there were 143,000 hectares planted in coca. Besides that, UNODC showed that the potential production of chloralhydrate of cocaine was the highest in history with 1,400 tons, an increase of 14%.

The agency explains that the increase in production is not comparable to the hectares planted in coca because the new plantations still have not reached the stage of production. That comes between two and four years after the initial planting.


UNODC Región Andina . . . Oct 20, 2022


Replying to @UNODCROCOL

Our Regional Director @CandiceWelsch

presents the findings of the Monitoring of

Territories Affected by #CultivosDeCoca

in #Colombia 2021

UNODC Región Andina y Cono Sur


“In 2021 there was an increase of 43% in the area

 planted with coca, reaching 204,000 hectares with

 plantings. This is the highest of the series”; @CandiceWelsch,


The areas with the most coca

One of the most important increases in coca plantings was in the Pacific region. It went from 50,701 hectares the previous year to 89,266 hectares in 2021.

There was also a considerable increase in the Orinoco region, where the number of hectares planted in coca actually more than doubled, even though the numbers are still low. In 2021, 311 hectares of coca were registered, while in 2020 there had only been 121.

In the same way, the report points out that, of the 1,122 municipalities in Colombia, 181 are affected by coca and half of the plantings are concentrated in just 12 municipalities. Tibú is in first place with nearly 22,000 hectares planted with coca.

Sixty-two percent of the coca is found in three departments, Nariño, Norte de Santander, and Putumayo. Besides that, the report states that 86.5 % of the plantings have been growing in the same place for ten years.

According to UNODC, “In these regions, in previous years, reduction of the area planted with coca had been reported, largely because of the use of forced eradication. However, the difficulties of sustaining that, and the lack of supplementary measures that would change the conditions of vulnerability, resulted in an increase in 2021 in the area where coca was planted.

More than half of the plantings of coca are located in areas of special handling, which could become a threat to cultural and environmental biodiversity.



UNODC Región Andina y Cono Sur  October 20, 2022

The #CocaPlantings continue to threaten the cultural

potential and biodiversity of the country. Nearly 50%

of the coca is located in special handling areas.

A high percentage is concentrated in the properties of

Afro-Colombian communities and in forest reserve


The Causes

For the United Nations, the causes of the reduction between 2017 and 2021 have to do with the government’s intervention in many of the areas, the departure of the armed groups that were exercising control, the implementation of the Peace Agreements, and an improvement in voluntary eradication.

On the other hand, among the causes for the increase are a reduction in government intervention, the positioning of new armed groups, and the deterioration of social and economic conditions. The report also points out that the coca fields are now operating more efficiently.

Right now they are producing more coca leaves in every hectare where coca is planted. The reasons for this are found in the way they have

optimized the number of plants seeded in the same spaces. The majority of the plantings are at their most productive age and the plant varieties are being replaced by more productive varieties. There is also an indication that the use of agro-chemicals in the process has been increased.

Another cause of the increase in coca plantings, according to the report, is the increase in demand for cocaine at a worldwide level. “Observing the tendencies of the last ten years, we see a constant long-range increase in the number of users of this kind of drug,” says the UNODC.

Finally, the report notes that the devaluation of the peso has made for an increase in the drug traffickers’ financial return. The report even indicates that there has been a better financial return for the producers.

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