July 23, 2024

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UN: Afghan Poppy Supply Plummets by 95% Due to Taliban Ban

UN: Afghan Poppy Supply Plummets by 95% Due to Taliban Ban

UN: Afghan Poppy Supply Plummets by 95% Due to Taliban Ban

According to a report released by the United Nations On Nov 5th, Afghanistan, once the world’s largest narcotics supplier, has seen a substantial decrease in poppy (opium poppy) production since the Taliban government banned the cultivation of narcotics last year.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) stated that in 2023, the total area of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has decreased from 233,000 hectares in the previous year to 18,000 hectares, resulting in a sharp 95% reduction in supply to 333 tons.

UN: Afghan Poppy Supply Plummets by 95% Due to Taliban Ban

The Office on Drugs and Crime mentioned that this places significant pressure on Afghanistan’s war-ravaged farmers, as a substantial portion of the country relies on agriculture for their livelihoods. The value of poppy exports sometimes surpasses that of all official export commodities.

The report suggests that the drastic decline in poppy cultivation will have a significant impact on Afghanistan’s economy at a time when approximately two-thirds of the population already require humanitarian aid.

Ghada Waly, Executive Director of the Office on Drugs and Crime, stated in a release, “In the coming months, Afghanistan urgently needs substantial investment in sustainable livelihoods, providing Afghan farmers with alternatives to opium.”

She went on to say, “This offers a real opportunity to build lasting achievements in the fight against the illegal opium market and the damage it causes locally and globally.”

The Office on Drugs and Crime reported that Afghanistan’s supply is estimated to account for around 80% of global illicit opium, and the substantial reduction in supply from Afghanistan may ultimately lead to a decrease in international opium usage. However, it could also result in increased global consumption of substitute drugs, such as fentanyl or synthetic opioid medications.

The Taliban’s supreme spiritual leader banned opium cultivation in April 2022 and the Taliban’s Ministry of Interior Affairs announced the destruction of all remaining poppy crops. Experts note that during their previous rule, the Taliban banned poppy cultivation in 2000 in an attempt to gain international legitimacy, but faced strong opposition from the populace.

Many provinces that traditionally strongly support the Taliban, such as Helmand in the south, are concentrated areas for poppy cultivation.

The Office on Drugs and Crime stated that while many farmers have shifted to wheat cultivation, their income is significantly lower than when cultivating poppy.

UN: Afghan Poppy Supply Plummets by 95% Due to Taliban Ban

(source:internet, reference only)

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