$1.16m projects for Baghlan promised
PUL-I-KHUMRI (PAN): Reconstruction projects worth $1.16 million would be launched in northern Baghlan province next year if growers did not cultivate poppies, a Ministry of Counter-Narcotics official promised on Saturday.
During a visit to the province, Deputy Minister Eng. Mohammad Ibrahim Azhar said Baghlan had been poppy-free for the past two years. But some farmers in Andarab district returned to poppy cultivation this year, he added.
Due to the cultivation of the banned crop in Andarab, Azhar said, the ministry had decided to launch a campaign against poppies before this sowing season.
Earlier in the month, the ministry allocated one million dollars for each of the 17 provinces that were declared poppy-free this year. The development assistance will go to the provinces, where poppy cultivation has been reduced to zero.
Funded by the global fraternity, the Good Performance Initiative (GPI) was launched four years ago to reward provinces for eradicating the illicit crop. Each poppy-free province is paid a million dollars annually for development schemes by the ministry in accordance with governors' recommendations.
Four projects, including asphalting of the Khenjan-Doshi road and a conference hall at the governor's office, have already been implemented in the province. Another two schemes are currently underway.
He pointed out that poppies had been cultivated over 14o hectares of land in Baghlan this year, largely because of a drought and soaring opium prices in the country.
Governor Munshi Abdul Majid said the funds allocated for Baghlan were inadequate, While seeking more development assistance, he urged farmers to switch to other crops, including wheat.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.