UN: Production of coca leaf surges in Colombia

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The United Nations says coca production in Colombia has surged to levels not seen before during two decades of U.S. drug eradication efforts.

A U.N. report shows an estimated 146,000 hectares of Colombian land were planted last year with coca leaf, the base ingredient of cocaine. That's a 52 percent increase over 2015. Potential cocaine production rose 34 percent to 866 metric tons.

Friday's report confirms U.S. government findings from March that production is skyrocketing in the South American nation. Factors include an end to aerial fumigation in 2014.

Coca leaf production began rising in 2013 after years of decline.