Coca-leaf production in the countries of the Andean subregion

Sections

ABSTRACT
Historical background
Current production
Eradication
Concluding remarks

Details

Author: R. ABRUZZESE
Pages: 95 to 98
Creation Date: 1989/01/01

Coca-leaf production in the countries of the Andean subregion

R. ABRUZZESE Professor of Sociology and Research Methods, Bolivian Catholic University, La Paz, Bolivia

ABSTRACT

The estimated areas under coca-bush cultivation in 1988 are expected to total 44,300 hectares in Bolivia, 25,000 hectares in Colombia, 400 hectares in Ecuador and 1 14,400 hectares in Peru. The estimated projections for 1989 indicate that coca-leaf production may amount to 68,200 tonnes in Bolivia, 20,000 tonnes in Colombia. 300 tonnes in Ecuador and 120,100 tonnes in Peru. Of all the Andean countries, Venezuela is the only one that has no coca-leaf production problem. According to estimates for the period from 1985 to 1989, coca-leaf production will increase by 43.3 per cent in Bolivia, by 13.6 per cent in Colombia and by 26.2 per cent in Peru. Coca-leaf production in Ecuador has consistently followed a downward trend. According to estimates, since 1985 coca-leaf production in Peru has accounted for more than one half of the total amount produced in the Andean subregion, while production in Colombia, though it has increased in the same period, has accounted for a relatively small share. In 1987, estimated coca-leaf production in Bolivia amounted to 30.2 per cent of the total amount produced in the subregion.

Historical background

Coca-leaf production in the Andean subregion is believed to date back as far as 20,000 years. The only archaeological evidence of such production, however, has been found in Ecuador, where it dates back to the Valdivia period (3000 B.C.), and in the "Asia I", community in Peru, where it may date back to around 2000 B.C. [ 1] . It was not until the rule of Inca Lloque Yupanqui that the first extensive coca-leaf crops were planted. Apparently, during the reign of Inca Roca (circa A.D. 1250-1315), coca was first brought to the Incan cities, where it was introduced to the upper classes of society and eventually used by members of all the social strata. Until then, coca had represented a divinity and had been used for multiple magical/religious and medicinal purposes. During the colonial era, the use of coca leaves was restricted and it became a powerful element of social and economic control. During the republican era, this factor disappeared in all the countries in which coca-leaf consumption subsisted [ 2] .

Current production

Only Peru and Bolivia currently produce a limited amount of coca leaves in a legally, culturally and socially defined manner. In the other countries of the Andean subregion, coca-leaf production has practically disappeared or is exclusively associated with illicit use.

It is estimated that in 1981, there were some 50,000 hectares under coca-bush cultivation in Peru, including 14,000 hectares for local consumption by small-scale farmers, and approximately 55,000 hectares in Bolivia, including 10,000 hectares for local consumption by small-scale farmers (see table l).

Table 1

Estimated areas under coca-bush cultivation in the countries of the Andean subregion, 1981-1988

(Thousands of hectares)

Country

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988 a

Bolivia
55.0 55.0 55.0
. .
34.0 37.0 40.3 44.3
Colombia
2.5 5.0 12.8 16.0 17.6 25.0 25.0 25.0
Ecuador
. .
. .
. .
. .
1.0 0.7 0.5 0.4
Peru
50.0 50.0 50.0
. .
95.2 107.5 109.5 114.4
Venezuela
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Sources: United States of America. Department of State. Bureau of International Narcotics Matters. International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. 1984 (Washington.D.C..1985): United States of America. Department of State. Bureau of International Narcotics Matters. International Narcotics Central Strategy Report. 1985 (Washington.D.C..1986): United States of America. Department of State. Bureau of International Narcotics Matters. International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. 1986 (Washington. D.C., 1987): United States of America. Department of State. Bureau of International Narcotics Matters. International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. 1987 (Washington.D.C..1988).
aProjected figures.

In the same year, 2,500 hectares were cultivated in Colombia. .Table 1 shows that since the mid-1980s, the areas under coca-bush cultivation have increased substantially in the countries of the Andean subregion, except in Ecuador and Venezuela. In 1988, 44,300 hectares are assumed to be under coca-bush cultivation in Bolivia, 25,000 hectares in Colombia, 400 hectares in Ecuador and 114,400 hectares in Peru [ 3] . It should be noted that in 1988, it is estimated that coca-bush cultivation in Colombia will account for only 93.6 per cent of the total for the subregion; in Peru ,it will account for 62.9 percent; in Bolivia,24.9 percent; and in Ecuador, 0.2 percent. In Venezuela, no coca-leaf production was recorded during the period from 1981 to 1988.

As shown in table 2, during the period from 1985 to 1989, the amount of coca leaves produced is expected to increase in Bolivia by 43.3 per cent, in Colombia by 93.6 per cent and in Peru by 26.2 per cent [ 3] . During the same period, Ecuador, which has initiated an extensive eradication campaign, is expected to record a reduction of 99.9 per cent; this, together with other factors, has had a positive impact on the control of the production, trafficking and consumption of coca-leaf derivatives in that country in recent years. In the subregion as a whole, the amount produced is expected to increase by 27.l per cent during the period from 1985 to 1989 [ 4] .

Table 2

Estimated coca-leaf production in the countries of the Andean subregion, 1985, 1987 and 1989

(Thousands of tonnes)

 

1985

1987

1989 a

Country

Amount

Share (percentage)

Amount

Share (percentage)

Amount

Share (percentage)

Bolivia
47.6 29.0 56.4 30.2 68.2 32.7
Colombia
17.6 10.7 20.0 10.7 20.0 9.6
Ecuador
3.7 2.3 0.8 0.4 0.3 0.1
Peru
95.2 58.0 109.5 58.7 120.1 57.6
Venezuela
-
-
-
-
-
-
Total
164.1 100.0 186.7 100.0 208.6 100.0
Sources: United States of America. Department of State. Bureau of International Narcotics Matters.
International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1984 (Washington. D.C.. 1985); Untied States of America.
Department of State. Bureau of International Narcotics Matters. International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.
1985(Washington. D.C., 1986); United States of America. Department of State. Bureau of International
Narcotics Matters. International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. 1986 (Washington. D.C.. 1987); United States of America. Department of State. Bureau of International Narcotics Matters. International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1987 (Washington. D.C.. 1988).
a Projected figures.

It is estimated that in 1985, 29.0 per cent of the coca leaves produced in the Andean subregion came from Bolivia, 10.7 per cent from Colombia, 2.3 per cent from Ecuador and 58.0 per cent from Peru. The projected figures for 1989 indicate that, of the estimated total of 208,600 tonnes of coca leaves produced in the subregion, 32.7 per cent is expected to be produced in Bolivia, 9.6 per cent in Colombia, 0.l per cent in Ecuador and 57.6 per cent in Peru [ 4] .

Eradication

It is estimated that in 1985, only 11.1 per cent of the coca bushes cultivated in the Andean subregion were eradicated. In 1987, the figure dropped to 9.4 per cent, while it is expected that 20.0 per cent will be eradicated in 1989 [ 3] .

It is also estimated that of the total amount of coca leaves produced in the subregion, 9.4 per cent were eradicated in 1985 and 5.8 per cent in 1987. And for 1989, it is expected that 11.l per cent will be eradicated [ 4] .

Concluding remarks

The magnitude of the problem of coca-leaf production, together with the recent increase in the areas under cultivation and in the amounts produced, is a clear sign that this is an economic phenomenon of a proportion that far exceeds the current capacity of most of the countries in the Andean subregion to control it, particularly because no sector of the formal economy of those countries has grown as quickly and dynamically as coca production. Not only have a number of individuals become multimillionaires practically overnight, but whole new social classes have been formed that are connected with the illicit economy of drug trafficking [ 5-9] .

References

001

J. Kennedy, Coca exotica.(Washington, D.C., Associated Press, 1985).

002

G. Perez, Cocaina-Surgimiento y Evolucin de un Mito(Bogot, Catlogo Cientifico, 1987).

003

R. Abruzzese, Produccn, Trfico y Consumo de Sustancias Psicoactivas en los Paises del Area Andina :Indicadores para e Deseno de Politicas y Estrategias de Prevencin Regional dela Drogadiccin(Washington, D.C., Pan American Health Organization, 1988).

004

W. Mortimer, History of Coca (San Francisco, And/Or Press, 1974).

005

R. Cadenas, "Consideraciones sobre la sociologia del discurso en material de drogas", La Cuestin de las Drogas en America Latina ,Una Visin Global (Caracas, Comisin Nacional contra el Uso Ilicito de las Drogas, 1987)

006

United States of America, Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics Matters, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. 1984 (Washington, D.C., 1985).

007

United States of America, Department of State, Bureau of international Narcotics Matters, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1985 (Washington, D.C., 1986).

008

United States of America, Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics Matters, International Narcotics Contrail Strategy Report. 1986 (Washington, D.C., 1987).

009

United States of America, Department of State, Bureau of international Narcotics Matters, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. 1987 (Washington, D.C., 1988).