Opium production in Afghanistan could increase by 17 per cent

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An opium poppy field in Afghanistan. Photo: Freshta Dunya (UNAMA).

Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan rose seven per cent in the last year, despite efforts to discourage the practice, according to a joint survey by the UN and the Afghan government.

Opium poppy is a plant from which opium and poppy seeds are extracted.

Opium is processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released the report together with the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics in Vienna and Kabul.

It also warns that opium production may climb by as much as 17 per cent.

Yields are estimated to reach 6,400 tons in 2014 compared to the previous year's total of 5,500 tons.

A link between insecurity and opium cultivation has been observed in the country since 2007, and continues to be a factor in 2014.

The bulk of opium poppy cultivation is concentrated in nine of the most insecure provinces of Afghanistan, mainly in the southern and western regions.

The price of a kilogramme of opium dropped to $133 probably as a result of greater crop production and supply, the survey notes.

The Executive Director of UNODC, Yury Fedotov warns that stability in the country and the wider region could be derailed by this threat.

Afghanistan produces some 90 per cent of the world’s illicit opiates, a group of drugs that reduce pain.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration:  1’30″


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