Colombia's leading export is transitioning from oil to cocaine. With oil exports falling 30% in H1 2023, a recent report by Bloomberg Economics, predicts that cocaine revenues will surpass oil this year.
As the world's top cocaine producer, Colombia reached its highest production level since 1991, producing 1,738 tons worth $193 billion in 2022.
In 2022, the cocaine industry generated $18.2 billion in exports, closing in on the $19.1 billion oil exports.
Growers have become more efficient, with better yields and investments in irrigation and fertilizers, boosting coca crop yields to 230,028 hectares in 2022.
The average crop yield increased from 4.3 to 7.0 tons of coca leaves per hectare from 2013 to 2020.
Colombia's illicit cocaine sector accounted for 5.3% of GDP in the past year, according to economist Felpi Hernandez's estimates.
Cocaine's Resilience: Colombia's Ongoing Battle Amidst the Failed War on Drugs
Despite four decades of U.S.-led efforts to reign in drugs in Colombia, the country still holds the dubious title of being the world's largest coca cultivator and cocaine producer.
Throughout this period, Colombia has primarily focused on disrupting the drug supply chain, often criminalizing farmers at the bottom of this chain.
Even the ambitious $10 billion U.S.-backed Plan …