Kabul [Afghanistan], November 20 (ANI): Opium price hike is luring Afghan farmers to cultivate more poppy for larger profits, amid the deepening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
The farmers in the southern province of Helmand say that they will cultivate opium as its products make better profits than other crops, especially as the price of opium has increased compared to the previous years, reported Tolo News.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a recent report that the price of opium has recently surged. According to UNODC findings, income from Afghan opiates amounted to USD 1.8 billion to 2.7 billion in 2021 inside Afghanistan, but much larger profits are made in the illicit drug supply chains outside the country.
Increased political uncertainty in Afghanistan since August 2021 is driving up opium prices, which almost doubled in August compared to May, said UNODC, reported Tolo News.
The UNODC said that around 300 tons of pure heroin were expected to be produced in Afghanistan this year.
The lack of markets for Afghanistan's fresh and dry fruits is said to be a cause of the rise of poppy growth. Many neighbouring countries have closed their borders with Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Taliban officials said they are trying to facilitate ways for the cultivation of poppy alternatives, reported Tolo News.
"In cooperation with several international organizations, we want to facilitate alternative ways for the people to cultivate other crops in order to prevent smuggling and narcotics in Afghanistan," said Inamullah Samangani, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate.
The UNODC also warned that alongside rising opium and heroin production, methamphetamine manufacture in Afghanistan, using the wild ephedra plant as a precursor, has sharply increased in recent years, reported Tolo News.
"If there is no cooperation with the Islamic Emirate on the international level, the poppy cultivation will be a big challenge for Afghanistan and the world," said Atif Mukhtar, head of the strategic studies center.
Helmand is said to be producing a significant amount of the world's opium. Its residents have become well-experienced in its cultivation. (ANI)