Mexico and UNODC present second opium poppy cultivation survey

Mexico and UNODC present second opium poppy cultivation survey

29 November 2018 - The Government of Mexico and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) presented today the opium poppy cultivation survey on Mexico covering the periods of 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.

The report estimates that between 2015 and 2016 the area under opium poppy cultivation in Mexico reached 25,200 hectares, while in period of 2016-2017 around 30,600 hectares were registered.

Opium poppy cultivation increased by 21 per cent in the country between these time periods, representing a net increase of 5,400 hectares.

The estimation of the opium poppy cultivation area in Mexico was based on the visual interpretation of high-resolution satellite imagery, combined with field visits and aerial flights, which allowed obtaining highly precise results.

Opium poppy cultivation areas were detected in the Sierra Madre Occidental concentrated in the states of Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Durango and the north of Nayarit, as well as in Guerrero and Oaxaca in the Sierra Madre del Sur.

The main cultivation areas in the country continue to be in Guerrero and the so-called "Golden Triangle", a region located between the states of Sinaloa, Chihuahua and Durango.

According to information from the Government of Mexico (Attorney General's Office), national eradication increased by 32 per cent between 2016 and 2017, from 22,436 hectares to 29,692 hectares, respectively.

The report was developed within the framework of a joint project entitled "Monitoring system for illicit crops in Mexican territory". This project, financed entirely by the Government of Mexico, receives technical support from the Global Programme on Illicit Crop Monitoring from UNODC in Vienna, which provides internationally recognized data using a transparent, reliable, and solid methodology.

Additionally, the report indicates that a better understanding of the socioeconomic aspects, among others, associated with illicit opium poppy cultivation in the country, is necessary to formulate policies that can curb its expansion and encourage the sustainable development of legal alternatives.

With the publication of the next report in 2019, the Government of Mexico and UNODC plan to estimate the yield factor (kilograms of opium gum by hectare of opium poppy cultivation), the analysis and determination of the percentage of the morphine content in the opium gum, as well as the potential heroine production in the country.

At the launch of the report, Antonino De Leo, Representative of the UNODC Liaison and Partnership Office in Mexico, urged national authorities, in coordination with the state and local authorities, to adopt new approaches and more comprehensive opium poppy control strategies.

Highlighting the importance of the outcome document of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem of April 2016, Mr. De Leo invited the authorities of the new Federal Government to "combine eradication efforts with the development and implementation of broad and sustainable alternative development programmes in the illicit cultivation areas, through the recognition of the needs and vulnerabilities of the affected local communities, and through renewed and strengthened regional and international cooperation." 

He also recalled that alternative development is human and community-centered, not drug-centered. "Alternative development programmes support farmers to escape from the poverty trap of cultivating illicit crops, with measures to benefit rural development and improve infrastructure, inclusion and social protection", he added. 

The UNODC Representative put at the disposal of the authorities of the new Federal Government the knowledge, expertise, advice, and technical assistance of the international organization that he represents in Mexico.

"The efforts to counter drugs, crime, and corruption are framed under the much broader work of sustainable development", Mr. De Leo said.

Quoting United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, Mr. De Leo added that "accomplishing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and combating the world's drug problem should not exist as distant cousins, because they are complementary and mutually reinforcing".

Further information:

Opium poppy cultivation survey on Mexico covering the periods of 2015-2016 and 2016-2017

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean

UNODC and illicit crop monitoring