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| 6/26/2009 12:00:00 AM

Mixed signals among the coca bushes

Jun 26 -- An apparent fall in cocaine production conceals the remarkable resilience of an illegal industry

A YEAR ago when the United Nations’ annual survey showed a rise of 27% in the area planted with coca in Colombia in 2007, the government expressed “serious doubts” about the reliability of the estimate. On June 19th Colombian officials were so proud of the UN’s finding of an 18% decrease last year that they rushed to announce it five days ahead of its scheduled release. Although cultivation of coca, the hardy shrub from which cocaine is refined, is reported to have increased in Peru and Bolivia (see chart), the UN claims that lower yields mean that 28% less cocaine was produced in Colombia. Taken together with an estimated fall of 19% in opium-poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) calls the results “encouraging”.
 
Read more here.
 
 
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