Colombian drug producers are reported to have genetically modified coca plants to boost production of cocaine. According to a report seen by the British newspaper Financial Times, Colombian officials have found coca plants producing four times more of the drug's active chemical than normal plants growing in the north of the country. The Financial Times says the plants have also been modified to resist herbicides sprayed by US and Colombian anti-drug operations.
Colombian scientists and US officials say that there is no evidence that the plants have been genetically modified. They suggest that yields are higher because of increased use of fertiliser.
According to statistics from the Colombian government, the area on which coca is grown has halved since 2000. Despite this, the level of the drug's production seems to have been maintained.