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Afghan Opium Output to Rise - UN

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High opiate prices may lead to a surge in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan this year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report released on Monday.

MOSCOW, April 15 (RIA Novosti) - High opiate prices may lead to a surge in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan this year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report released on Monday.

The findings of the 2013 Opium Risk Assessment study suggest that poppy cultivation is not only expected to grow in areas where it already existed in 2012, e.g. in the area north of the Boghra canal in the Hilmand province or in Bawka district in the Farah province, but also in new areas or in areas where poppy cultivation was previously abolished.

“In eastern Afghanistan, in the Nangarhar province, farmers resumed cultivation even in districts where poppy has not been present for the last four years,” the report said.

“In the northern and northeastern regions, the provinces of Balkh and Takhar, which were poppy-free for many years, are at risk of resuming poppy cultivation.”

The report indicates that “a strong association” between insecurity, lack of agricultural assistance and opium cultivation continues to exist.

“Villages with a low level of security and those which had not received agricultural assistance in the previous year were significantly more likely to grow poppy in 2013 than villages with good security and those that had received assistance,” it said.

A “high selling price of opium” was the predominant reason for opium cultivation.

“Opium prices, albeit lower than in 2010 and 2011, were still at a much higher level than between 2005 and 2009, making opium cultivation very financially attractive for farmers,” the report said.

Afghanistan is the world’s leading drug producer, accounting for over 80 percent of all opiates on the global market.

 

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