Peru is the second largest producer of coca – the source plant for cocaine – after Colombia, as measured by the amount of land devoted to the crop, according to UN figures out on September 26.
The world’s production of coca is located exclusively in South America’s Andes mountains, and primarily in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.
In 2011, there were 62,500 hectares of coca in Peru, up from 61,200 in 2010, said Flavio Mirella, of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Lima.
In Colombia, 64,000 hectares were dedicated to growing coca, an increase from 62,000 in 2010, Mirella told reporters.
Colombia is responsible for 41.6 percent of the world’s coca plantations, followed by Peru with 40.7 percent and Bolivia with nearly 18 percent, Mirella said.
Experts have predicted that Peru could soon overtake Colombia in cocaine production, as Bogota’s decade-long U.S.-backed crackdown has dramatically weakened that country’s once legendary cartels.