Colombia's Gross Drug Product.

Author:Poole, Claire
Position:Brief Article

IT'S PROBABLY NO BIG SURPRISE THAT THE VALUE OF COLOMBIA'S coca, heroin poppies and marijuana is higher than its famous cut flowers. But now the government wants to count the crops, used to make illegal drugs, to calculate the nation's gross domestic product (GDP).

"It doesn't mean they're being validated or given some kind of blessing:" Finance Minister Juan Camilo Restrepo told reporters. "[But it] doesn't lessen them in terms of being part of economic activity that is taking place."

Indeed, by the government's own estimates, these crops are bringing in big money: In 1994, the last year for which figures are available, their value amounted to 854 billion pesos, or about US$515 million, making up about 1% of Colombia's overall GDP. Their value surpassed cut...

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