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Afghanistan: Counter-Narcotics

Volume 684: debated on Tuesday 25 July 2006

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Written Statement by the noble Lord, Lord Triesman, on 13 July (WS 52), on what alternative livelihoods Pillar 6 in the national drugs control strategy of Afghanistan, supported by Department for International Development funding, is to be focused. [HL7105]

DfID leads the British Government’s efforts to develop alternative livelihoods to opium production in support of Pillar 6 of the national drugs control strategy of Afghanistan. DfID will contribute £130 million to these efforts between 2005 and 2008. A proportion of this funding is specifically targeted on improving agricultural opportunities for farmers. This work ranges from funding research to help identify, test and implement new crops and technologies through to improvements in health and husbandry for livestock.

At the same time as developing agricultural opportunities, DfID also supports the Government of Afghanistan’s national programmes that are helping to increase access to credit and improve infrastructure for farmers to transport their produce to market. Progress is being made, but it is gradual and will take many years. However, evidence from other countries demonstrates that where the population does not have access to legal livelihood opportunities efforts to reduce opium cultivation, as part of a broader strategy, are not sustainable.