Afghanistan's opium production falls 10 percent

2009-09-03 08:33 BJT

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Afghanistan's opium production has fallen 10 percent since last year. The executive director of the UN's office on Drugs and Crime, says prices are at their lowest in a decade.

Antonio Maria Costa, Exec. Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said, "This is altogether positive, a significant decline in the cultivation: 22 percent; in production: 10 percent; in prices, in revenue accruing to farmers, in the number of farmers involved in the opium cultivation, in the share of opium in the GDP of the economy, in the export of opium from Afghanistan - just every single indicator, physical indicator, is positive."

UN says production of opium falling

A key finding of the 2009 Afghan Opium Survey says cultivation in Hel-mand province dropped by about a third since 2007. Hel-mand produces roughly 70 percent of Afghanistan's opium and has been a Taliban stronghold.

US and British troops launched major operations in the area this summer. Afghanistan produces 90 percent of the world's opium, the raw ingredient used to make heroin. The multi billion dollar crop has helped finance the Taliban and criminal groups.

The UN says that a "marriage of convenience" between insurgents and criminal groups is spawning narco-cartels in Afghanistan. To disrupt the link, US and NATO troops began targeting drug warehouses for the first time this year.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: