Drug Trafficking - World Production
coca opium cannabis cultivation
The Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, an element of the U.S. State Department, reports data on the amount of land cultivated to raise opium poppy, coca leaf, and cannabis, the hemp plant from which marijuana and hashish are derived (International Narcotics Control Strategy Report [INCSR], Washington, DC, March 2004). From estimates and observations in INCSR of the land cultivated, the bureau develops estimates of potential production.
According to the State Department, the largest amount of cultivated land was dedicated to the production of coca leaf, followed by opium poppy and cannabis. (See Table 6.4. Note that because of reporting changes, 2003 coca cultivation in Columbia—the biggest producer of coca—is not included in the graphic, making the 2003 totals for coca cultivation misleading.) In 2003, 59,600 hectares of land were used growing coca, a sharp decrease from 205,450 the previous year. A hectare is 2.47 acres. Opium poppy was cultivated on 127,030 hectares; the largest producer was Afghanistan, which supplanted the previous year's leader, Burma. Cannabis cultivation, which excludes what is grown domestically in the United States in this tabulation, took place on 5,000 hectares in 2003. Over the fifteen-year period from 1987-2002, opium cultivation was higher than coca leaf cultivation, measured in hectares, in all but five years. Cannabis cultivation is a distant third, reflecting the much lower value of marijuana than of opium, cocaine, and their derivatives.
Data on production of opium gum, coca leaf, and cannabis are shown for recent years in Table 6.5. Production is measured in metric tons. The largest tonnage of drug material is coca leaf, followed by opium and cannabis. Results for the year 2000 are the most comparable because Colombia, overwhelmingly the largest producer, has been left unstated in the years since then because of a change in reporting. In 2000, 664,200 metric tons of coca were produced, 14,500 tons of cannabis, and 5,004 tons of opium gum. Leading producer countries were Colombia for coca, Afghanistan for opium, and Mexico for cannabis.