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Bolivia: Less than half its coca goes to cocaine

Wednesday - 11/13/2013, 2:40pm  ET

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.

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