On Tuesday, Ruben Vargas, director of Peru’s anti-drug body, warned that the surface area for cocaine production for drug-trafficking in the country had increased in Amazon jungle areas which border Brazil and Bolivia.
The motivation for this phenomenon is said to be the growth in cocaine consumption in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, as well as the drug traffic to emerging markets, particularly in Asia.
"Also, there is a reconfiguration of markets in MERCOSUR countries such as Argentina and Chile where they are consuming a lot of cocaine.
"It is not just about consumption there, but shipping routes to other parts of the world,” stated the president of the National Commission for Life and Development (DEVIDA, for its acronym in Spanish).
No new data on the surface area of coca production for drug trafficking in Peru has been published by official sources since 2016 when the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime published their last report on the subject.
Nearly 41 percent of coca production for illicit purposes is located in the valley of the Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro rivers, South of Peru.
2016 UNODC figures indicate this area comprises 20,304 hectares, which grew at a rate of 1,500 hectares annually, with a total production of 308 tons of cocaine.
In the valley, a group of 250 men under the rule of the Quispe Palomino brothers, some the last leaders of almost extinct Shinning Path group, linked to drug-trafficking, control illicit drug-trafficking activities and constantly clash with the Peruvian army.
DEVIDA’s approach to this phenomenon of expansion is to build infrastructure for legal crops such as cacao, coffee, mullein tea, and peanuts, as well as to stimulate — through the provision of farming-related equipment — added value in the agriculture sector.