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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2610

Opium Cultivation Reached All Time High In Afghanistan

Vienna, 16 November, (

The area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has increased a whopping 63 per cent since 2016, a report published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Afghanistan's Ministry of Counter Narcotics has revealed.

The total area under poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has reached 328,000 hectares in 2017, experiencing an increase of 127,000 hectares in just one year, the report revealed.

Another harrowing revelation in the report is that the crop is now being grown in three additional provinces which were considered poppy-free until last year. Among them is Ghazni, where poppy had not been grown since years before the arrival of Nato forces.

Of Afghanistan's 34 provinces, opium poppy is now grown in 24 provinces, with the greatest concentration in the Southern region.

Afghan provinces Hilmand and Kandahar, both of which border Balochistan, are among the largest producers of opium.

In the key findings of its annual Afghanistan opium survey, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said output of opium made from poppy seeds in Afghanistan, the world’s main source of heroin, stands at around 9,000 metric tons this year.

“Increased insurgency and funding to terrorist groups is likely within Afghanistan while more high quality, low cost heroin will reach consumer markets across the world, leading to increased consumption,” the UNODC said.
Last year’s report warned that Kabul’s weakening grip on security in many areas was contributing to a collapse in poppy eradication efforts, a method championed by the United States after it led an invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 when the country was under Taliban rule.

This year, provincial governors eradicated around 750 hectares used for poppy cultivation, more than twice as much as last year. But areas under cultivation also hit a record this year at 328,000 hectares, up over 60 percent from last year. Southern and north-eastern regions saw the biggest growth.

The average yield per hectare was also boosted by a 15 percent since last year, according to the report.

In money terms, the farm-gate value of the opium produced was up by over 50 percent at around $1.4 billion, or 7 percent of Afghanistan’s estimated gross domestic product, the UNODC said.

The Taliban — who banned poppy cultivation when it ruled Afghanistan ? now appear to wield significant control over the war-torn country's heroin production line, providing insurgents with billions of dollars, officials said earlier this year.

- Asian Tribune -

An Opium Field In Afghanistan
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