Geographical Location: Reducing
Cocoa cultivation in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru,
Chronicle of the event: Reducing the Supply of Illegal Drugs: Coca, the raw material for cocaine, is grown in
the countries of Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. Regional efforts to eradicate this
crop have been quite successful in those three years. Despite the increasing
demand of cocaine and coca, the governments successfully reduced the supply on
a large scale.
Breakdown of the event: Nearly all of the coca cultivation in Colombia is
in remote, underdeveloped regions outside authorities control and often under
the influence of guerrilla or paramilitary forces. This makes eradication and
prohibition operations difficult. Moreover, without the promise of security in
the countryside, the government cannot deliver adequate alternative development
programs to provide legit income to growers who abandon coca cultivation. The
growth of Colombian illicit drug cultivation has added substantial power to the
guerrilla and paramilitary groups, who protect and control various aspects of
the drug industry. Despite these challenges, the Colombian National Police
report that they destroyed more than 60,000 hectares of illicit crops in 1998.
In response, traffickers have increased cultivation in regions controlled by
armed insurgent organizations. The Colombian authorities has formed a joint
task force with people from all the military services and the CNP to escalate counterdrug
operations in guerrilla-controlled regions. The CNP also inducted a general
aviation aircraft control system, which resulted in the seizure of 54
trafficker aircrafts in 1998.
Consequences of the event: Coca cultivation in Peru decreased by 56 percent
from 115,300 hectares in 1995 to 51,000 hectares in 1998. Cocaine production
declined from 460 MT to 240 MT over the same period in Peru while in Bolivia production
declined from 255 MT in 1994 to 150 MT in 1998.
Governments of these countries actually tried to attain such a state of
demand and supply. This success is attributed to many factors, including political
will in both countries to counter the illegal drug trade, the regional air
interdiction campaign that targeted drug-laden aircraft flying between
coca-growing regions of Peru and processing laboratories in Colombia, control
of precursor chemicals, diminished strength of insurgent forces in Peru, and
alternate crop programs. The fact that coca leaf prices dropped more than 50
percent in Peru over the past three years suggests that this progress can be
By increasing capabilities of judicial systems, law-enforcement agencies,
security forces and encouraging greater regional cooperation, implementation of
policies can curb illicit coca cultivation is possible.