Farmers warn of return to poppy cultivation
PUL-I-KHUMRI (PAN): Farmers in the northern province of Baghlan Tuesday warned of returning to poppy cultivation if the Ministry of Counternarcotics did not meet its promises.
"We were told the government would provide growers with improved seeds and fertilisers. But we have seen nothing so far," Mohammad Kabir, 33, a resident of Andarab district, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Officials in the central government also pledged tractors and alternative livelihoods to farmers, Kabir said, regretting the breach of the commitment. If the situation persisted, the people resume poppy cultivation, he added.
But Agriculture Director Mohammad Nabi Raufi said farmers were provided with fertilisers and improved wheat seeds over the past two year after the province was declared poppy-free early in 2010.
With funds allocated for poppy-free provinces, the ministry had built a stadium at a cost of $500,000 (23 million afghanis), Counternarcotics Director Sabrullah Mohib said. A conference hall was constructed and about 15 tractors were provided to growers.
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