Lazy eyes listen
According to Bloomberg Economics, cocaine is set to overtake oil as Colombia’s largest export this year, as producers of the narcotic have upped their operations amid the implementation of more liberal regulations governing the drug’s manufacturing.
“We estimate cocaine export revenues jumped to $18.2 billion in 2022 – not far behind oil exports of $19.1 billion last year,” Bloomberg economist Felipe Hernandez said in a research released on Thursday. “The government is destroying laboratories where coca leaves are processed into cocaine, but this hasn’t stopped production,” Hernandez continued.
According to Bloomberg, the South American country’s cocaine exports exceeded 1,700 tonnes last year, nearly doubling the 970 tonnes exported the previous year. Meanwhile, oil exports have increased.
The anticipated increase in cocaine production in Colombia coincides with a policy shift imposed by the country’s president, Gustavo Petro, who has directed anti-drug enforcement agencies to target prominent drug lords who traffic the narcotic internationally rather than coca leaf producers.
Petro has also voiced a willingness to meet with Colombia’s main cocaine exporters in order to prevent drug-related violence.
According to a report issued this week by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, one unforeseen consequence of Petro’s policy shift has been a 13% increase in the area used to cultivate coca plants, the leaves of which are processed into cocaine. Colombia makes it unlawful to harvest or produce coca plants.
According to the UN report, approximately 230,000 hectares (570,000 acres) of Colombian land is utilised to harvest coca plants. Hernandez told Bloomberg that the rise in accessible crops has been reflected by an increase in production.
A 9.5-ton cocaine cargo from Ecuador, which borders Colombia, was intercepted by Spanish officials in August. The drugs were meant to be transferred to 30 European drug rings, according to evidence from the intercepted package, which was disguised as a consignment of frozen bananas.