Afghan opium output to rise: UN

Moscow, April 15 (IANS/RIA Novosti) High opiate prices may lead to a surge in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan this year, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said Monday.

The findings of the 2013 Opium Risk Assessment study suggest poppy cultivation is not only expected to grow in areas where it already existed in 2012, but also in new areas or in areas where poppy cultivation was previously abolished.

“In eastern Afghanistan, in the Nangarhar province, farmers resumed cultivation even in districts where poppy has not been present for the last four years,” the report said.

“In the northern and northeastern regions, the provinces of Balkh and Takhar, which were poppy-free for many years, are at risk of resuming poppy cultivation.”

The report indicates that “a strong association” between insecurity, lack of agricultural assistance and opium cultivation continues to exist.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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