Poppy cultivation down by 40pc in Helmand
LASHKARGAH (PAN): About 50,000 hectares of land were cultivated with the illicit poppy crop in southern Helmand province in 2011, 40 percent less than last year, the governor said on Sunday.
The farmers, who defied warnings and cultivated the outlawed crop, would be prosecuted, Gulab Mangal, told Pajhwok Afghan News, soon after an eradication drive was launched in and around Lashkargah, the provincial capital.
Mangal said they planned to destroy 3,000 hectares of poppies this year in Helmand -- the largest opium-producing region in the world. He added that 48,000 farmers had so far received fertilizers and improved seeds.
Police chief, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hakim Angar, said that 67 tractors and 200 police officials have been deployed to Lashkargah to destroy poppies. Supported by the Afghan army and NATO-led ISAF forces 1,000 policemen are currently busy eradicating poppies in Helmand, according to Gen. Angar.
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