Coca Tea Market Bigger than Cocaine?

“The potential market for licit coca leaf is as or larger than the drug”

Alfredo Menacho, Wawasana director and board member of Adex, talks to LaMula.pe on the VI International Forum of the Coca Leaf.

Alfredo Menacho is an outspoken proponent of the legal Coca trade
Alfredo Menacho is an outspoken proponent of the legal Coca trade. Click image for original article in Spanish

PLEASE NOTE: This article has been electronically translated from Spanish.  Please forgive any grammatical or other anomalies.

In the ten years since the first forum on the coca leaf at the University of San Marcos, several positive changes have been noted. Bolivia has renegotiated the terms of accession of his country to the UN Single Convention, asserting in international bodies an internal democratic process – in recognized the new State Constitution Plurinacional – the historical and cultural value of leaf consumption coca, and therefore the legitimacy of its production. In Colombia, too, indigenous representatives have achieved (still booming prohibitive policies) both create a legitimate market for coca and its organic derivatives, such as stop the smear campaign against ‘The Mata Mata’. Across the continent, it is creating a new consensus, pragmatic and progressive, and open to broad reforms that will accompany the end of the erroneous, fraudulent, failed ‘war on drugs’.

Everywhere, the various forums on the coca leaf have been given the challenge of facing the scientific dishonesty of the authorities who wanted to condemn coca as “stupefying” and have attracted the attention of a new audience, more conducive to listen , understand and spread the benefits and virtues of this plant. this is also one of the purposes of the sixth International Forum of the Coca Leaf, today and tomorrow takes place in Lima. LaMula.pe spoke with Alfredo Menacho, one of organizers.

“The VI Forum of the coca leaf is a space created by Community Tawantinsuyu, a group of people who only have as weapons his love for the coca leaf, based on the knowledge of it that has given its ritual use, medicinal , energy and nutrition. This forum has been making for years, with no support, in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and now, for the second time in Peru, their first home. the forum aims to recover our ancestral memory, reminding us that we should eat, chew, picchar and include our master plants fully in our daily lives. this time we decided to accompany this recovery effort from Adex, to point out the huge potential that is for businesses business, politics and society the sacred leaf of the Incas “.


While there are those who criticize the coca leaf, you talk about the virtues of coca, how much is unknown of this natural resource?
It ignores almost everything. The leaf has been used for millennia and has never received sufficient serious investigation although many prejudices, superficial assessments and others. Those who consume have been validated some of those virtues, but it happens that some of us are also professionals, researchers, doctors, and so on. Hence left some private investigations. However, greater efforts were Hipolito Unanue, who called it the “architónico the plant kingdom”.
What is the legal status of the coca leaf in Peru?
In Peru, coca leaf is legal but marketing is totally restricted by monopolistic intermediation ENACO, a very inefficient public company that in the best case, it should be a supervisory body, as permitted by the Vienna Convention 1961, forcing Peru to such management, but left open the possibility of running a supervisory body. Such inefficiency has led to an internal smuggling and its attendant microcorrupción. That reason alone should lead us to propose a shift towards an opening to allow the private sector to handle a more stable supply, higher quality and better prices for the producer and its decriminalization of a growing number of coca farmers.

And in the international arena?
much in the international arena to do. In times of liberalization ofcannabis, other plants prohibited by the Vienna Convention, although much more psychoactive that coca is imperative come together to stream otherwise clearly defined by Uruguay and fully consolidated in the United States, and recover the coca leaf as lawful industrial input, where its market potential is as great as that of cocaine when working intensively and in all market categories in which the sheet can and should participate. The cocaine market is about 85 billion dollars annually. Management of Adex Economic Studies has prepared an analysis of these categories and these outcomes will be presented Tuesday at the forum.
The Bolivian experience is to take into account …
In Bolivia the experience is different from the vision of its State. There is a policy in this regard will by the fact that its president is a former leader of coca growers. They even have a deputy minister of the coca leaf.However entrepreneurial skills are poor and have not developed the necessary power in terms of product development, logistics and financial capacity, business management and empowerment of the private sector for reasons including ideological and conceptual and methodological limitations, among others, besides being restricted the domestic market. At the end is a matter of subadministration.
This forum aims to rethink how it classifies the coca leaf in academic terms …
The importance of this forum is very relevant. Scientific research has taken huge leaps from 1961 to date, and the market for natural products, only medicinal plants is 65 billion dollars today, not to mention all other market categories in which the sheet coca can compete and, in some cases, overtop. This sets a very favorable environment should be exploited, further against the resounding failure of the war against drugs, interdiction policies, et cetera.

The conclusions of this forum should be aligned with the need for a review of background on the frames of scientific reference which was measured at the time the coca leaf, as well as in relation to potential markets that this Andean panacea brings. If the market for cannabis, only in the United States is, to date, of 11 billion dollars and is projected to 2020 will be 35 billion, I think there are a couple of good reasons to review the coca leaf has been ninguneada by those whose salaries depend on their bad reputation and underutilization.Science prejuicia not capitalized, does research and then, private enterprises development. In a country like Peru, where the research and development category occupies an infinitesimal percentage of public and private budget, is the height alleged that some scientists DEVIDA tear their clothes without even having consumed less seriously investigated.

How important it is to have a coca-leaf organic?
The possibility of making certified organic sheet raised me Colonel Jorge Rojas last year, when he was president of CodeVraem. The soldiers who themselves are doing their jobs in the VRAEM urgently need a tool that allows them to deal with narco-terrorism and make social cohesion in favor of the state. The possibility of a high quality sheet only is consistent with the possibility of a free and private marketing. It’s complicated but if we were sure that the blade is clean and organic let us not forget that both flour and leaf is consumed directly- could pay more and go creating a market like it was created quinoa or amaranth at the time. Only someone who sees and political will to initiate changes needed. Once, talking with Humberto Speziani on the subject said: ‘Alfredo, if there is a market, the rest is finished arranging sooner or later’.

We have verified the market interest in Russia, in Europe, in the United States.And that just talking filter sheet or teas. It is true that the path is still strewn with obstacles, but it is also true that if we do not start today, not ever do. The coca leaf has already had an international market from its reputation as an energizer, anesthetic and medicinal. With fame you have now, it is a matter of a click and attack the market for functional foods, superfoods, energizing, among other products, and advance. The legal conditions will be modified gradually. Almost no one believed that Uruguay would legalize marijuana and the United States, the great father of the drug wars going to do the same in their territory. But the market is strong and we hear Humberto, if the market exists, the sea of ​​troubles will open sooner or later.

This is what is to recover our natural resource …
Coca flour is a simple and easy to ingest coca leaf, especially for some specific problems way. Since the first forum resulted in a television report, the market for coca flour has skyrocketed, although it has not reached anywhere near its ceiling. Energy power leaf flour is such that we eat it mixed with honey and chocolate sometimes in the office and all almost doubled our physical or intellectual performance. If only we bought him coca farmers coca flour, we could pay them more than they are paid by the drug trade and ENACO together.

When I think of maca excessive purchases by the Chinese last year I wonder what will happen when they learn their abilities as sexual energizer. It is that nobody has thought about enough depth and seriousness in what it can mean for the country a leap of this nature. Recover our most important natural resource while ciudadadanos well concertir in coca farmers is a huge but with equally enormous prospects of capital accumulation task.

What are the possibilities of making alliances, seek markets amid drug?
Associativities the possibility of building in the buffer zones of conflict areas is one of the most serious possibilities of both a cooperative base and a peace process with popular participation. I do not understand how politicians do not see it and hope someone is the start to ask all now that the election time approaching.

They say big problems, big solutions. The drug problem can, well used and well-managed, lead to a peaceful and productive time at the same levels undreamed solution. The potential market for licit coca leaf is as big as the drug.

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