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Afghanistan: Drugs

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on trends in opium production in Afghanistan. (196704)

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) conducts annual surveys of opium cultivation in Afghanistan. We remain concerned by the total opium cultivation figures, but welcome the UNODC's findings in its Rapid Assessment survey, that they expect cultivation to “decrease slightly in 2008”. Poppy cultivation has increased primarily in the south, where insecurity is greatest. In the north and east—where security, alternative livelihoods and governance exists—poppy cultivation has fallen: in 2007, the number of poppy free provinces doubled from six to 13. (Further information is available in the joint UK/US paper, ‘Fighting the Opium Trade in Afghanistan: Myths, Facts, and Sound Policy’—available on the counter narcotics page at:

www.fco.gov.uk/ukandafghanistan).

This year we hope to see further progress and support the government of Afghanistan's target of over half of all provinces becoming poppy free in 2008. The following data are drawn from the UNODC surveys.

Estimated opium poppy cultivation(hectares)

Potential total volume of opium production (metric tonnes)

2007

193,000

8,200

2006

165,000

6,100

2005

104,000

4,100

2004

131,000

4,200

2003

80,000

3,600

2002

74,000

3,400

2001

8,000

185

2000

82,172

3,276

1999

91,983

4,565

1998

64,674

2,693