Coca leaf crops in Bolivia fell 6% in 2018 after two years of growth, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported Thursday and recommended more efforts to the authorities to enforce the 22,000 hectares recognized as legal in the country.
Worker cutting coca leaves / Via REUTERS
Reuters | Daniel Ramos
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The report, presented by the UNODC representative in Bolivia, Thierry Rostan, said that the cultivated area was reduced by 1,400 hectares, from 24,500 to 23,100 hectares between 2017 and 2018.
"While a 6% reduction has been reported, the area of coca crops remains above what is required by law," said Rostan in an act in which President Evo Morales, a former coca grower who participated in 2008 nationalized the drug fight with the expulsion of the US DEA agency.
The indigenous president defends the nutritional and medicinal values of the traditional chewing of the coca leaf, also raw material for the manufacture of cocaine.
"How good it would also be to make an assessment of the countries where the drug is consumed. The origin of drug trafficking remains the market; however, there are no rules to investigate where and why drug consumption grows," Morales said in his intervention
According to data by UNODC, Bolivia recorded a record low of 20,200 hectares of coca in 2015, but in the 2016-2017 period, crops rose to 24,500 hectares.
Bolivia is the third world producer of cocaine after Colombia and Peru.