Afghanistan: 43 percent rise in estimated opium harvest

Figures from government and UNODC show 10 percent increase in poppy cultivation and 91 percent decrease in eradication.

    Estimated opium production in Afghanistan has risen by 43 percent to 4,800 metric tonnes in 2016 compared with 2015 levels, according to the latest  Afghanistan Opium Survey figures released by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

    The survey, released on Sunday, showed that the total area under cultivation in Afghanistan at an estimated 201,000 hectares in 2016, a 10 percent increase from the 183,000 hectares in 2015.

    The report also showed a 91 percent decrease in eradication this year.

    No eradication has taken place in provinces with high levels of opium poppy cultivation due to the extremely poor security situation in those areas, as well as logistical and financial challenges, the report said.

    READ MORE: Afghanistan's floundering billion-dollar drug war

    Overall, potential opium production in Afghanistan has increased 43 percent, with 4,800 tonnes this year compared to 3,300 tonnes in 2015.

    Yury Fedotov, UNODC executive director, said in a statement on Sunday that the new report shows a worrying reversal in efforts to combat the persistent problem of illicit drugs and their impact on development, health and security.

    Fedotov urged the international community to lend their support to achieving the sustainable development goals in Afghanistan - including vital work on a peaceful and inclusive society, health, poverty, peace, and gender, among many others.

    IN PICTURES: Afghanistan's war on drugs

    Poppy farmers are often taxed by the Taliban, who use the cash to help fund their fight against government forces.

    Afghanistan grows about 80 percent of the world's opium, which is used to produce highly addictive heroin.

    The poppies, which provide huge profits in one of the world's poorest countries, play a large part in the corruption that plagues Afghan life at every level.

    Afghanistan's forgotten drug addicts

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News And News Agencies


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