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Afghanistan: Drugs

Volume 490: debated on Monday 23 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the area in hectares and proportion of cultivatable land in Helmand province which is under cultivation for poppies; and if he will make a statement. (263417)

The UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Afghanistan Opium Survey for 2008 estimates that 33 per cent. (103,590 hectares) of the land in Helmand with the potential for agriculture was devoted to poppy cultivation in 2008. In their winter survey, UNODC has indicated that there may be a slight decrease in the cultivation of poppy in Helmand in 2009. Final figures for 2009 will be published in the summer when UNODC releases the executive summary of its Afghanistan Opium Survey for 2009.

The UK welcomes the early signs that cultivation of poppy in Helmand may be reducing. We continue to support the government of Afghanistan’s national drug control strategy which aims to reduce poppy cultivation sustainably in Afghanistan.