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Opium Poppy Eradication Programme

Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will assess the extent to which the Opium-poppy Eradication Programme has (a) deferred Afghan farmers from opium-poppy production and (b) decreased the supply of heroin to the UK. [117185]

The Afghan Transitional Administration estimate that around 25 per cent. of the crop was destroyed as a result of their eradication programme for the 2002 harvest. A potential 79 tonnes of heroin, two to three times the UK's annual consumption, was taken out of the supply chain. A proportion of this was bound to be destined for the UK but it is not possible to gauge exactly how much.The Afghan National Drug Strategy, which was adopted on 19 May, recognises that eradication will not eliminate drugs from Afghanistan on its own and must be balanced with other measures to interdict drugs and to encourage development of rural communities to promote sustainable alternatives for poppy farmers.