Bolivia says 58 percent of its coca for traditional uses, the rest becomes cocaine
LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivia's government has released a study that says 58 percent its coca crop goes to traditional uses while the rest is processed into cocaine.
The long-awaited European Union-financed study found that 31 percent of Bolivia's 10 million people consume coca, a mild stimulant used in religious rituals, chewed and taken in tea.
President Evo Morales is a coca growers' union chief and his backers have long said Bolivia needs four-fifths of the 25,300 hectares of coca under cultivation in 2012 to meet traditional needs.
U.S. officials insist it needs no more than 12,000 hectares.
Bolivia is the No. 3 coca producer after Peru and Colombia.
International law enforcement officials say Bolivia has a growing drug trafficking problem, with much of the cocaine processed in its territory originating in Peru.