News / Asia

Afghan Opium Crop Headed for Record High

Afghan Opium Crop Headed for Record Highi
X
April 15, 2013 8:15 PM
Afghan farmers are facing another bountiful harvest. But instead of celebrating, officials at the United Nations and around the world are increasingly worried. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more on Afghanistan's opium trade.
Afghan Opium Crop Headed for Record High
Afghan farmers are facing another bountiful harvest. But instead of celebrating, officials at the United Nations and around the world are increasingly worried about Afghanistan's opium trade.

The sun is shining in Afghanistan's Helmand province, and farmers are busy harvesting their opium poppies. This year, for the third year in a row, they are looking at a bigger opium crop.

Farmer Faiz Mohammed makes no apologies.

"We are the poorest people in this area. If we don't cultivate poppies we can't feed ourselves and our family. We have tried to cultivate corn and wheat, but that is too cheap, doesn't bring a good income, and poppy crops bring good money," said Mohammed.

2013 expected opium cultivation levels in Afghanistan, by province.2013 expected opium cultivation levels in Afghanistan, by province.
x
2013 expected opium cultivation levels in Afghanistan, by province.
2013 expected opium cultivation levels in Afghanistan, by province.
The riches promised by opium stand in contrast to the rest of the country's struggling economy.

Farmer Haji Abdullah said it is potential profit - and not pressure from the Taliban - that is feeding the opium harvest.

"The Taliban have no influence here. The farmers themselves grow poppies because, compared to the price of wheat, there is a huge difference," said Abdullah. "For instance, we sell four kilograms of corn for 100 Afghanis [$1.89 USD] but poppies bring 2000-5000 Afghanis [$37.80-$94.57 USD]. This is for the benefit of the farmers, we see there is a huge difference in the price."

A report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime warns that Afghanistan could account for as much as 90 percent of the world's supply of heroin.

The U.N.'s Jean-Luc Lemahieu calls it a sign of failure. "We have seen enormous inflow in this country over the last decades, and with regards to the drug control situation, we still see increases of the opium cultivation, so we cannot say in any way, based on the facts, that we have succeeded. We have failed," he said.

And Lemahieu warns that farmers are not the only ones becoming dependent on opium.

"It is one of the biggest diseases this country is facing at this moment - one million addicts. It is an enormous health problem. Who will pay for that? he said.

That is a question far from the thoughts of the opium farmers in Helmand province, who say they have no other way to feed their families.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Khan from: India
April 16, 2013 12:22 AM
US must build Factories, workshops, Rail network and manufacturing units to engage Afghans in work instead of spending money on war. Arms creates crimes and work create peace.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid