Table 6. Comparison of the economic returns from coca and heart of palm (source: interview data, 2000)


Crop 2000 price (US$) Potential number of harvests annually Potential harvest Selling return per hectare of crop (2000 prices), assuming three harvests
Coca $98 per carga 3 4 cargas/cato US$ 2,352
Heart of plam $0.10 per unit 3 1500 units/ha US$ 150


A carga is a colloquial term used for a 100-lb (45.4 kg) sack of dried coca leaves
A cato is 1/6th (0.1.67) ha, making the potential coca harvest = 1088 kg/ha.