The Chamber of Senators sanctioned last Friday the General Bill on Coca, which allocates 22,000 legal hectares to cultivate the traditional lead.
The President of the Senate asked to send the sanctioned norm to the Executive Organ for its enactment.
The norm authorizes to destine a maximum of 14,300 hectares to coca crops Los Yungas (a region in the La Paz department) and a maximum of 7,700 in the Cochabamba department, the political bastion of Evo Morales. This represents an 83% increase compared to the previous law.
This project bill is the product of a negotiation between Evo Morales’ government and the coca producers of the Yungas region, after the latter held violent protests against the government on February 24.
President Morales will promulgate the new law in a public act, although a date has not yet been established.
Increasing the coca production is a delicate matter because it could go to feed the powerful and dangerous global cocaine industry.
The Minister of Rural Development and Lands, César Cocarico, said the new law will cause an excess of 6,000 tonnes of coca, which will be industrialized to export to countries like Ecuador and Argentina.
‘We don’t agree with the increase in production. According to studies, 14,000 hectares are enough for consumption. We’re not only a transit country, but a producer country [of cocaine], therefore, the issue should be treated with more sensibility,’ said opposition deputy Wilson Santamaría.
The aforementioned study was carried out five years ago, with funding by the European Union, and concluded that 14,000 hectares were enough to supply for the country’s coca leaf consumption.