Photo of coca leaf: joyosity

Prior to coca grower President Evo Morales‘ election in 2006, Bolivia had given a promise ring to the United States, vowing to destroy all coca.

THE PLANT, USED to make cocaine, is arguably Bolivia’s most lucrative agricultural crop. It’s drunk as tea, used to ward of altitude sickness, is an appetite suppressant and stimulant and now a key ingredient in Bolivia’s newest soft drink: Coca Colla.

Photo: roitberg

Rather than eradicate coca crops, the success of this soft drink could see legal crops nearly double “from from 12,000 hectares to as much as 20,000 hectares,” according to Guardian UK. While the law only permits 12,000 hectares in Bolivia, illegal crops are said to make up 30,000 already (Clarín).

The “coca” part is obvious, but the “Colla” refers to the indigenous Andean people of the Aymara ethnic group who have grown and used the plant since well before the Spanish conquests began.

According to Clarín, Bolivia’s Rural Development Minister Víctor Hugo Vázquez admits the name may have to be changed to insure wider success, but that the point is to create a legitimate outlet for the industrialization of coca crops in Bolivia.

The drink is said to be sweet and nearly black in color. I can’t wait to get my hands on a bottle and see how it tastes – it’s got to be better than Red Bull.

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