Peru destroyed more than 31,000 hectares of coca in 2014
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Peru destroyed more than 31,000 hectares of coca in 2014

Peruvian officials have announced that they destroyed 31,205 hectares (about 77,000 acres) of coca crops this year, the highest since the government eradication program began in 1983.

Interior Minister Daniel Urresti said Thursday that the eradication of the crops prevented the production of at least 240 metric tons of cocaine valued at $5 billion in the United States.

Nevertheless, the government eradication program did not reach the most important coca growing region of the South American country, the Amazonian valley around the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers.

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime says Peru is the No. 1 cultivator of coca leaf worldwide, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration rates it as the biggest producer of cocaine globally, replacing Colombia as top producer in 2012.

Associated Press