The Strategist

UN: World cocaine production rose by a third in 2021

03/17/2023 - 10:55

Cocaine production has significantly grew in the face of lax anti-COVID measures after a decline during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, when various nations implemented stringent border and lockdown restrictions, says the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Daniel Foster
Daniel Foster
The primary ingredient of the drug, coca, saw a 35 percent rise in production from 2020 to 2021, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

The growth is at its highest level since 2016. According to the report, coca cultivation took up 204,000 hectares of land in 2021, a 40% rise.

The primary producers of cocaine in the world, the Colombian drug cartels, are reportedly working on both transportation and manufacturing techniques. Cocaine is frequently made in jungle laboratories, and as production techniques advance, so does the volume of production. Authorities in several nations seized an unprecedented 2,000 tons of cocaine in 2021.

The cocaine was transported using a range of techniques; it was specifically discovered in avocado crates, medical masks, and squids. The UNODC also points out that traffickers are continuously looking for new modes of transportation to get around restrictions, and are expanding their presence in markets like Asia and Africa. Although three-quarters of cocaine is currently consumed in Europe and North America, consumption in South America is also rising.