Peru: U.S. report on coca crops contains errors

12:47 | Lima, Aug. 1

National Commission for Development and Life without Drugs (Devida) Executive-President Ruben Vargas on Saturday said that there are serious miscalculations in the latest report published by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) on the area cultivated with coca crops in Peru in 2019.

Given those errors, he indicated, the alleged growth of illicit coca crops is oversized by more than 35%, thus calling into question Peru's sustained commitment in the fight against drugs.

A first mistake by the ONDCP in estimating the coca-cultivated area in the South American country during 2019 would be to disregard the coca leaves that are destined for traditional consumption and industrial uses, which are legal in the country.

According to a 2019 study carried out by the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI) —on behalf of Devida— just over 9,000 hectares of coca crops are destined to meet this traditional demand from licit ancestral and industrial origins.

"About 6 million Peruvians consume coca leaves every year, and that never turns into cocaine," said Vargas, who noted that this has been reported to the ONDCP since 2018.

Another ONDCP calculation error is that the total area, which was eradicated during 2019 (equivalent to 25,000 hectares), would not be taken into account in the report.

"The enormous effort made by the Peruvian State to eradicate illicit coca crops, which used to invade national parks and the territories of native communities, has not been recognized," Vargas stated.

According to an analysis carried out by Devida, more than 18,000 hectares of the 25,000 eradicated in 2019 were not considered at the time the ONDCP issued its final results.


Published: 8/1/2020
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