Peru is now the world’s top grower of coca leaf, the essential ingredient in cocaine production, Reuters reported June 23.
With 119,000 metric tons of coca leaf produced in 2009, or 45.4 percent of the world’s total output, Peru has now surpassed Columbia, which produces 103,000 metric tons or 39.3 percent, according to the report from the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime.
Columbia still supplies more illicitly refined cocaine, however.
Coca cultivation acreage in Peru has risen 6.8 percent as the U.S. has focused on wiping out the crop in Columbia. Columbia’s production was down 16 percent in 2009 from the previous year, and down 60 percent from a decade prior.