Colombia produces most of the world’s cocaine — and output is at a record-high

Business InsiderColombia is the world’s top producer of cocaine, and cultivation of coca, the drug’s base product, has hit record levels two years in a row.

The area under coca cultivation grew 39% in 2014 and 42% in 2015, hitting 392,897.5 acres, according to the US State Department’s annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.

2015’s increase was the largest single-year spike on record.

Potential pure cocaine production in 2015 was 495 metric tons — 185 metric tons more than in 2014.

The Colombian government also reported seizing 421 metric tons of cocaine and cocaine base in 2016, which was 124 metric tons more than in 2015.

The jump in area under cultivation returns Colombia to levels not seen since 2007, and several areas in the country contributed heavily to the increase. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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