Afghanistan: Der Opium-BoomFinally there is good news from Afghanistan, alleluia! Junkies can relax for now!  This year, writes columnist for the German edition of Der Spiegel Hasnain Kazim, in Afghanistan expected record harvest of opium. Despite the fact that the cultivation of the opium poppy – the main component in the manufacture of heroin – is prohibited by law, the number of provinces in which the plant is grown, is growing steadily. Three years ago, the UN noted that the poppy was grown only in 14 regions out of 34, but this year the figure is already 20. New crops appear not only in the traditional areas of opium poppy cultivation – in the south, but also in the north of the country, where, as we know, has never been cultivated. Afghanistan, the author notes, is still the largest opium producer in the world: “If the weather conditions and the absence of pests 90% of the total opium come from Afghanistan.”

Growing poppy, Afghan farmers “are trying to insure themselves against the onset of turbulent times,” said the head of the Afghan UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Jean-Luc Lemahieu. Many fear that after the western military leave the country, Afghanistan will plunge into chaos, as happened after the Soviet withdrawal. Cultivation of opium poppy same, explains author of the article, is the fastest way to make money – now the price per kilo comes to thousands of dollars. In addition, buyers of poppy provide farmers with extremely favorable terms, crediting and giving them everything they need in advance.

In general, according to experts at Ruhr University in Bochum, William Loewenstein, in the Afghan drug trade employs about 10% of the Afghan population, about 3 million people. The only way to cope with the production of drugs, according to experts, is the promotion of alternative livelihoods, like let’s say it happens in Jalalabad, where farmers do not grow drugs, they produce rose oil worth thousands of dollars per liter for cosmetic companies from Germany. In reality, why is it an Afghanis problem?  There are buyers for their product and they (farmers) deliver, it is a “free” enterprise!



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