Steep Rise in Poppy Cultivation And Production of Opium
Afghan opium production has jumped to record levels this year. According to the latest "Afghanistan Opium Survey" released jointly by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), overall production rose by 87 percent compared to last year, to 9,000 metric tons. This is partly due to a 63 percent increase in poppy cultivated cropland, to 328,000 hectares in 2017. Also, the yield has increased by 15 percent to around 27 kilos of opium per hectare.
Afghanistan is the world's top cultivator of poppy from which opium and heroin are produced. The cultivation and sale is a source of revenue for the Taliban insurgency and other terrorist groups, as they levy taxes from farmers cultivating the crop. At the beginning of this week, the U.S. Air Force bombed production facilities in the south Afghan province of Helmand, which is the most prolific production area within Afghanistan.
The steep rise in production also means that more cheap but high quality heroin will be available on illicit markets across the world.
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