Opium production in Afghanistan increases by 61 per cent

A member of the newly trained Afghan National Police (ANP) patrols through a poppy field in Mian Poshteh

Opium production has risen by over 60 per cent in Afghanistan this year.

That's according to a report released Tuesday by the UN and Afghan Government.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says poppy cultivation in the country also increased by 7 per cent in 2011, due to insecurity, economic hardship and high prices.

Afghanistan produces nearly 80 per cent of the world’s opium… most of which is grown in the volatile south, in Helmand and Kandahar provinces.

In fact, 17 of the country's 34 provinces now cultivate poppy – up from 14 last year. This also confirms the links between insecurity and opium cultivation.

UNODC's Jean-Luc Lemahieu explains what needs to be done next.

“We need to have more governors showing political commitment as we have with Governor Mangal. We need to have more of our humanitarian and development programmes discussing the communities on how the opium cultivation is to be phased out in a sociable, acceptable and humanitarian manner. We need to discuss with the neighbouring countries how we can dismantle the networks across the borders."

Duration: 26″

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