This report presents data and commentary on trends in coca cultivation in Colombia identified in a 2004 survey conducted jointly by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Colombian Government.
Coca cultivation in Colombia continued to decline in 2004 for the fourth straight year, although the 2004 survey showed a less significant decrease than in previous years. The survey found coca cultivation on 80,000 hectares, a 7-percent decrease from 2003. Over the past 4 years, coca cultivation in Colombia decreased 51 percent, one of the highest continued reductions of illicit crops ever recorded. The 2004 survey shows, however, that there has been significant growth in new coca crops in new areas of the country and/or in areas of previous cultivation. Approximately 60 percent of the fields were new. The overall decrease in coca cultivation was due primarily to two factors: aerial spraying and the implementation of alternative development projects. Out of a total budget of 240 million U.S. dollars, over the period of 1999-2007, the annual budget for alternative development activities at the municipal and departmental levels increased from $3 million in 2000 to $78 million in 2004. These programs are the key to sustaining the recent reductions in cultivation. The survey found that the size of armed groups was larger in municipalities where coca cultivation was proliferating. Clearly, the security of communities is vital for sustainable drug control. The international community can assist in controlling the illicit trade of chemical precursors into Colombia. Such action can help to ensure the sustainability of achievements in the control of illicit crops. 29 maps and data on coca cultivation, opium poppy cultivation, yield and production, and prices
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