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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Afghan opium production 'halved'

BBC News

Police officers destroy poppy crops in Badakhshan province, Afghanistan, July 2009 Afghanistan produces 90% of the world's opium, the main ingredient in heroin
Opium production in Afghanistan has almost halved in the past year, a United Nations report says.
The sharp drop is largely due to a plant infection which has drastically reduced yields, says the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
But it warns that production is unlikely to stay low, with rising prices tempting farmers to cultivate more opium poppies.
Afghanistan produces 90% of the world's opium, the main ingredient in heroin.

The UNODC's 2010 Afghan Opium Survey showed production in 2010 was at its lowest level since 2003, estimated at 3,600 tonnes - a 48% decrease from 6,900 tonnes in 2009.
"This is good news but there is no room for false optimism; the market may again become lucrative for poppy-crop growers so we have to monitor the situation closely," said Yury Fedotov, executive director of UNODC.
But with opium prices rising again after years of steady decline, the UNODC has warned that production is unlikely to stay low.
The total area of the country used for poppy cultivation remains unchanged despite government eradication programmes, and Mr Fedotov has called for a comprehensive strategy to counter the opium threat.
Most of the poppies are grown in the restive southern and western provinces, the report says, underscoring the link between the insurgency and the opium trade.
Last year Helmand accounted for nearly 60% of the country's total production of the drug, the UNODC said.

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