In a long-expected development, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimates that Peru has surpassed Colombia to become the world’s biggest cocaine producer.
In a US Senate hearing held on October 19, DEA intelligence chief Rodney Benson announced that Peru has the world’s biggest potential cocaine production, based on the size and quality of its coca fields.
“Although Colombia remains the world’s largest cultivator of coca, for the first time in over a decade, the U.S. government estimates that Peru has surpassed Colombia in potential pure cocaine production,” Benson told the Senate Caucus on International Drug Control.
According to him, this is largely due to “higher-yielding mature coca fields” in Peru, which have caused the country’s potential cocaine production capacity to grow to 325 metric tons, as opposed to Colombia’s 270.
Benson estimated that 45 percent of Peru’s coca crop is grown in areas controlled by Shining Path rebels.