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Opium production growing in Afghanistan

October 11, 2011, 11:50 UTC+3
The area of illegal plantations of opium poppy grew by 7 percent this year in Afghanistan and reached 131,000 hectares
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VIENNA, October 11 (Itar-Tass) —— Opium output is growing in Afghanistan, and its price is going up, says a report of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which was circulated here on Tuesday.

The area of illegal plantations of opium poppy grew by 7 percent this year in Afghanistan and reached 131,000 hectares. The opium output grew from 3,600 tons in 2010 to 5,800 in the current year. Profits coming from the illegal production of opium, considering the current purchasing prices, will amount to 1.4 billion dollars this year, which makes 9 percent of the gross domestic product.

According to the authors of the report, the illegal production of opium and heroin continues to be a rather profitable business and an important component part of the Afghan economy. It promotes a further destabilisation of the situation in the country and boosts corruption. Aside from it, the number of opium addicts is growing in Afghanistan itself. At present they account for 2.65 percent of the population, while the figure for 2005 was 1.4 percent.

The ministry for fighting drug trafficking and the special anti-drug police unit of Afghanistan are conscientiously doing their job and are taking measures for improving the situation, said UNODC Executive Director Yuri Fedotov. “At the same time, those two agencies should step up the confiscation of narcotics and should reduce the area of illegal plantations of opium poppy. This year the area of the destroyed poppy plantations grew by 65 per cent, but it makes only 3 percent of the overall area of illegal poppy plantations,” he added.

“On the whole, the report on the production of opium in Afghanistan, which was circulated on Tuesday, is a serious warning. We cannot permit ourselves to be indifferent to the problem. We should take resolute action, should work together on the national and international levels,” he continued. In this connection Fedotov supported the initiatives, aimed at promoting cooperation in fighting illegal drug trafficking, and at establishing control over precursors (chemicals, which are used for the production of narcotics).


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