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Poppy harvests season attracts unemployed Afghans

in Afghan Business

Poppy harvests season attracts unemployed Afghans

opium cultivationThe warm weather offers the most suitable climate for poppy cultivation in the southern Helmand province.

Unemployment in the province has caused many Afghan young men to seek job opportunities in harvesting the poppy fields that will later become opium.

This summer the young Afghans are out on the fields to score and make some money.

“We are not left with any other option. We can make 200-300 AFN ($4-$5) per day, which is quite reasonable relative to other skilled jobs across the country,” said a resident from Helmand.

According to the Helmand police, opium is mostly grown on the illegal lands of Helmand.

The Ministry of Counter Narcotics has increased its efforts to stop the growth of the deadly crop.

“We have lost 50-60 of our police officers who fought for this cause. Opposition groups, or those who are behind this matter, defend the opium fields very seriously,” said Mohammad Ibrahim Azhar, deputy minister of counter-narcotics.

Afghanistan is responsible for some 90% of the world’s opiates, making it the world’s first producer of opium as per the list of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime.



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  1. Mehdi Barghchi PhD
    Mehdi Barghchi PhD 9 April, 2013, 11:24

    It is true that the poppy farmers are not making much money from growing poppy for opium production. This is a major problem not only for Afghanistan but for the west where opium and its products are used as narcotics. To mange or resolve the problem, there must be more than one approach such as the following examples.

    I. Provide opportunities for alternative activities and income:

    a) Provide alternatives to poppy plantation which would help farmers;
    b) Provide alternatives to poppy harvester which would give employment opportunity to farmers and to the unemployed;
    c) Provide help and support to grow alternative crops in the form of agricultural extension and help and support;
    d) Provide help and support to set up new small rural industries to help employment and improve rural income.
    Note: See another discussion for further discussion on this area which would apply to all the above approaches.
    http://dev.wadsam.com/1391-a-good-year-for-saffron-export-in-afghanistan-232/

    II. Prevent production and enforcement

    The experience in Afghanistan and in other parts of the world shows that it has been very difficult to stop production of narcotics just through prevention of its production. There are many more approaches in this area which would make another extensive discussion.

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