La Paz/Vienna, 22 August 2019 - In 2018, the cultivation of coca crops in Bolivia decreased by six per cent compared to data from 2017, according to the latest Coca Cultivation Survey presented today in La Paz by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. The cultivated surface decreased by 1,400 hectares, from 24,500 hectares in 2017 to 23,100 hectares in 2018.
According to the Survey, the regions of Yungas of La Paz, the Tropics of Cochabamba (which includes producing areas in Santa Cruz and Beni) and the North of La Paz represented respectively 65, 34 and one per cent of the areas under coca cultivation in the country.
By combining the usage of satellite imagery with information collected in the field, UNODC detected a decrease in the area with coca cultivation in two out of the three main producing regions - in the region of Yungas of La Paz a decrease of six per cent was detected, reaching 15,015 hectares; in the Tropics of Cochabamba a reduction of seven per cent was recorded, reaching 7,787 hectares, whereas in the Northern region of La Paz, the cultivated area increased by 57 per cent, reaching 346 hectares of coca cultivation.
The highest reduction of coca cultivations in the Yungas of La Paz was detected in the province of Sud Yungas, with 918 hectares reduced, reaching a surface of 9,774 hectares of coca crops in 2018. Additionally, in the Tropics of Cochabamba, the province of Chapare recorded a decrease of 587 hectares of coca cultivations, reaching a total of 3,657 hectares of coca crops in 2018.
The Government of Bolivia reported an increase in rationalization and eradication activities, from 7,237 to 11,174 hectares. Sixty-one per cent of the eradication and rationalization efforts took place in the Tropics of Cochabamba, 24 per cent to Yungas of La Paz and 15 per cent in the departments of Santa Cruz and Beni.
The potential production of coca leaf in the country was estimated to a minimum of 33,400 tons and a maximum of 41,600 tons. This calculation is based on studies carried out in 1993 by DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), in 2005 by UNODC, and in 2010 by CONALTID (Plurinational State of Bolivia's National Council for the Fight Against Illicit Drug Trafficking).
The Survey also detected the presence of coca cultivation in six out of the 22 protected areas nationwide. In these areas, which are located in either of the three producing regions mentioned above, a total surface of 224 hectares of coca cultivation was detected. National parks most affected by coca cultivation include Carrasco, followed by Cotapata, Apolobamba and Isiboro Secure.
These figures reflect the main findings of the latest Coca Cultivation Survey in Bolivia, carried out under the framework of UNODC's Programme to Support the Implementation of the Action Plan of the Strategy for the Fight against Drug Trafficking and the Reduction of Surplus Coca Crops, financed by the European Union.
According to data from the government, the amount of coca leaf traded in the two authorized markets (Villa Fatima in the Department of La Paz and Sacaba in the Department of Cochabamba) was 24,178 tons in 2018. Ninety per cent of the legal trading of coca leaf took place in Villa Fatima, whereas the remaining 10 per cent took place in Sacaba. In 2018, the weighted average price of coca leaf in these authorized markets was US$ 12.5 per kilogram.
The Representative of UNODC in Bolivia, Thierry Rostan, also highlighted some recommendations to improve the control of coca cultivations, including:
-completing the geographic delimitation of the Authorized zones for coca leaf production, according to the General Law on Coca (Law 906) and its regulation, so as to avoid the expansion of coca cultivation;
- increasing control measures to avoid the expansion of coca cultivation to non-Authorized zones such as the areas surrounding the limits of the province of Ayopaya in the Department of Cochabamba and the provinces of Sud Yungas and Inquisivi in the Department of La Paz; and
- continuing to not only strengthen the processes of eradication/rationalization, social control and impact mitigation, but also to promote the Alternative Development of coca producing areas, to ultimately avoid the expansion of coca cultivation.