UN to release report on coca eradication efforts in Bolivia

The UN Office of Drug and Crime will today release its report on surplus coca eradication efforts in Bolivia. Citing

US Reuters

Photo: Reuters

The UN Office of Drug and Crime will today release its report on surplus coca eradication efforts in Bolivia.

Citing its cultural significance and medical uses, Bolivia permits 22,000 hectares of land for the legal cultivation of coca. However, as the plant is also used in the production of cocaine paste, eradication efforts have been undertaken to regulate the substance and eliminate any coca over the stated limit. Bolivia’s strategy of legalisation and rejection of the ‘war on drugs’ policies pursued by neighbouring Colombia and Peru have resulted in overall less violent drug conflict.

Given that today’s report will be limited in scope, it is highly likely that a continued decline in coca production will be recorded. Former president Evo Morales’ regulatory approach had shown significant progress towards reaching the 22,000-hectare limit and efforts have only increased to reign in excess cultivation. However, Morales’ forced resignation in November 2019 has led to uncertainty about the continuation of eradication. Now under increased scrutiny from interim President Jeanine Anez, coca growers’ fate largely rests upon upcoming presidential elections, in which they have retained broad political support among the majority of the field. More troubling for growers, COVID-19 has both limited economic activity as well as skyrocketed illegal drug prices. As such, a slight uptick in surplus coca production is possible as some farmers respond to new economic realities.

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