In the end of june 2010 we launched “Plan C” with the purpose of obtaining the legal import of traditional derivates of the coca leaf in Europe.
We have contacted people who are involved in the legal production, industrialization and commercialization of the coca leaf in Bolivia.
Among them are representatives of producer organisations, enterprises that are active on the domestic market and various experts on the issue.
As a first result it has been decided to organise a meeting on September 23d, 2010, in co-operation with the Coca and Territory Commission of the National Senate of Bolivia.
The meeting will allow for an exchange between the various sectors that are interested to contribute to a legal outlet for coca leaf derivates on the European market.
Plan C has two important objectives.
The first one is to inform about the benefitial properties (among others as a medecine or a food supplement) of the coca leaf and its derivates for an international audience.
The aim is to show the entire world what the coca leaf is and how it should be consumed in order to benefit from these properties.
The second objective is to increase the legal demand for coca leaves.
We do not believe that coca cultivation should be promoted without limitations. We do not believe either that all factors that push the migrant population towards the coca producing regions will be solved from one day to the other, with or without coca.
But in the past 40 years we have seen that forced erradication of coca fields does not represent a solution for neither the problem of drug trafficking neither the economic situation of the peasant producers.
The problem is essentially of an economic nature, and it can only be resolved within the economic context. To reach a sustainable solution it is necessary to create considerable perspectives for the development of the legal economy in the affected regions.
The coca leaf plays a crucial role in this process, because when the legal demand for this product increases, the illegal demand will loose its attraction.
Today in Bolivia, the opportunity for this process is particularly positive, whereas the families of coca leaf producers are organised in unions that maintain a relationship of dialogue with the government. Thanks to this dialogue, it has been possible to agree on fixed quantities that limit coca leaf production.
Today’s challenge is to ensure that this fixed quantity will be sold to the legal in stead of the illegal market.
Practically there is only one enterprise in the world that has the permission to commercialise a coca leaf derivate on the international level: this is the case of Coca Cola, one of the best sold products on the planet.
Therefore, a first element of crucial importance to the legal outlet of coca leaf derivates from Bolivia is that Bolivian producers obtain the possibility to elaborate products that could be exported using the same legal margins that are applied to Coca Cola.
Secondly, it is necessary to advance in the debate on the legal status of the coca leaf in its natural state, a debate that has to take place in Europe, among other places.
For this debate it is necessary to formulate models for a possible regulation concerning the production, elaboration and commercialisation of the coca leaf.
These models will be of great use to mobilise the European people (among others parliamentarians, entrepreneurs and social organizations) in order to take the necessary steps to advance in this issue in Europe.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you wish to have more information or pass on this message to others who could be interested to support Plan C.
Many thanks for your support,
Joep Oomen and Beatriz Negrety
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