Bolivia's farmers say drop 'coca' from coca-cola

Published: Monday 30 April 2007

Here's bad news for Coca-Cola, from Bolivia this time. The soft drink giant may have to drop the word coca from its brands, if Bolivia's coca leaf farmers have their way. The peasants have said that the leaf is part of Bolivia's cultural heritage and the name needs protection. They recently passed a resolution, endorsed by an expert panel that is rewriting the Bolivian constitution.

The farmer's resolution to the constitutional assembly called the "millennium-old coca plant" a "tangible, cultural heritage" and a "bioenergetic, strategic, renewable, economic, natural resource". The draft demands international companies refrain from using the name of their sacred leaf in their products. Bolivians use the coca leaves in religious ceremonies. The panel also called on the unto decriminalise coca, used as a mild stimulant in the country, whose president, Evo Morales, is a former coca leaf farmer.Bolivian authorities said they were dismayed that Coca-Cola could sell its soft drinks while Bolivia was barred from exporting products made with coca. Coca-Cola, however, says its name has been approved under Bolivian law.

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