Opium Production Increased By 43% In Afghanistan: United Nations

Opium Production Increased By 43% In Afghanistan: United Nations

Afghan farmer collecting opium in the poppy field.
A farmer harvesting opium from the poppies.


Kabul: The United Nations has said that opium production in Afghanistan has increased by 43% in the last year and better agricultural methods have also increased the per hectare production.


According to United Nations Office of Drug and Crime (UNODC) watch organisation the total area used for cultivating opium has been increased by 10% and collectively almost 2010,000 hectares of land has been cultivated with opium.


Keep in mind Afghanistan is considered the largest opium producing country in the world, most of this opium is used to make heroin. Although the cultivation of opium has been declared illegal in Afghanistan but opium is still the most profitable crop in the country.


The Taliban have imposed a tax on opium cultivation in areas under their control, this has become an important source to get funding for their activities.


The chief of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has said that the statistics of opium cultivation show a “a worrying reversal in efforts”.


Opium is widely used in medicines mostly in painkillers, although many countries produce their own opium to use in medicines most of the opium cultivated in Afghanistan is used as drugs, a large portion of it is converted into heroin  and then smuggled worldwide.


The government of Afghanistan has implemented an anti-drug policy to stop the cultivation of opium on state level, but despite these efforts opium is still being cultivated in government controlled areas increasingly while the local authorities are keeping their eyes closed.


Last year provincial government destroyed just 335 hectares of opium fields whereas in 2015 almost 4,000 hectares of opium fields were destroyed.


Opium is mostly grown in the southern areas of Afghanistan, almost 54%of the total opium production comes from the southern areas.


Almost 80,000 hectares are cultivated with opium in the Taliban controlled southern areas, the Taliban had taken control over Helmand after the allied forces left in 2014.


Keep in mind that before the United States attacked Afghanistan the Taliban had banned opium cultivation completely, but ever since the attack the local warlords and even government officials and politicians began to grow opium again in mass quantity.


Due to the profitability of the crop the Taliban have now started to support opium cultivation too as it helps them to generate funds to carry out their activities.


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