The European Union (EU) will finance a study in Bolivia to determine what proportion of the coca leaves grown there should go to manufacturing cocaine and what part be consumed domestically, reports from Sucre quoted an EU official as saying on Friday,.
Angel Gutierrez, head of the EU mission to Bolivia, told the media that the EU agreed to finance the study at the request of Bolivia's new President Evo Morales, and 420,000 euros (500,000 U.S. dollars) would be granted to the study.
Morales, who was confirmed as winning the country's election this month with an unprecedented 54 percent of the vote, owns a coca farm. His Socialist Movement Party grew out of the coca farmers' union of which he was a leader.
The union has fought to prevent the eradication of coca, which is grown on 27,000 hectares of land across the country. Cocaine is the most famous product of the leaf, which however is also used in traditional religious ceremonies and by indigenous Bolivians who chew it to fight fatigue.
Morales, 46, has vowed to legalize coca-leaf growing for traditional uses, saying he was opposed to cocaine trafficking but defends the right to grow coca leaf.