La Paz/Vienna (UNODC) 17 September 2012 - The cultivation of coca bush, which yields the leaf used for the production of cocaine, is down by around 12 per cent in the Plurinational State of Bolivia, according to the 2011 national coca monitoring survey presented today by UNODC and the Bolivian Government. The area under cultivation reached around 27,200 hectares (ha) in 2011, down from some 31,000 ha seen in 2010, marking the end of 3 years of high levels of cultivation.
Cesar Guedes, UNODC Representative in Bolivia, whose office has been jointly producing the annual survey with the Bolivian Government since 2003, welcomed this positive trend and thanked the Government for its drug control efforts.
In 2011, the Government eradicated coca crop from10, 500 ha, up 28 per cent over the 8,200 ha cleared in 2010. The total coca leaf yield stood at around 48,100 tons, down from the previous year's total of 55,500 tons.
Satellite images, plane flights and ground surveys of the largest coca-producing regions revealed that Yungas de la Paz, responsible for two thirds of Bolivia's coca production, saw an 11 per cent drop in cultivation to 18, 200 ha; Cochabamba Tropics registered a 15 per cent reduction to 8,600 ha; and the Northern La Paz provinces witnessed a 7 per cent drop to 370 ha.
Over 2,200 ha of coca bush were cultivated in the Isiboro Sécure and Carrasco national parks. Isiboro Sécure reduced cultivation by 30 per cent whereas Carrasco registered only a slight increase of 2 per cent. Overall, the protected areas of the country recorded a 15 per cent decrease.
Coca leaf prices rose steeply - by 31 per cent in the Government-authorized markets and an estimated 16 per cent in illegal markets. "Higher prices are making coca more attractive but farmers need viable long-term alternatives if we are to curb illicit crop-growing durably," said Mr. Guedes.
Despite lower production, the market value of coca leaf rose to US$ 353 million in 2011, up from 310 million in 2010. This represents 1.5 per cent of the country's GDP and 15.3 per cent of the GDP value of the agricultural sector.
Seizures of coca leaf dropped to 603 tons in 2011 from 1,015 tons in 2010. However, seizures of cocaine base were up 10 per cent to over 28, 350 kg and seizures of cocaine rose 65 per cent to over 5,600 kg.
For more information, please contact:
In La Paz: Mr. César Guedes, Representative, Plurinational State of Bolivia Tel. (+591-2) 262-4351, Email: cesar.guedes[at]unodc.org.
In Vienna: Ms. Preeta Bannerjee, Public Information Officer, Tel: +43- 1 26060-5764, Email: preeta.bannerjee[at]unodc.org