LA PAZ, Bolivia 2006- Bolivia’s foreign minister says coca leaves, the raw material for cocaine, are so nutritious they should be included on school breakfast menus.
“Coca has more calcium than milk. It should be part of the school breakfast,” Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca was quoted as saying in Friday’s edition of La Razon.
The new leftist government of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, has vowed to promote the legal uses of coca, the plant used to make cocaine, which is revered in Andean culture and is commonly chewed or made into tea.
Morales, himself a former coca farmer, has pledged to fight the drug trade but at the same time protect the cultivation of coca in Bolivia — the world’s third-biggest cocaine producer after Colombia and Peru.
A coca leaf weighing 100 grams contains 18.9 calories of protein, 45.8 mg of iron, 1540 mg of calcium and vitamins A, B1, B2, E and C, which is more than most nuts, according to a 1975 study by a group of Harvard University professors.