Poverty behind poppy cultivation: Farmers
FAIZABAD (Pajhwok): Farmers in northeastern Badakhshan province said growing poverty had forced them to cultivate poppy, threatening no one would be allowed to eradicate the illicit crop until they were provided with alternatives, an official said on Tuesday.
Governor Shah Wali Adib told Pajhwok Afghan News Poppy had been cultivated on 5,000 hectares of land in 11 districts of the province.
A local farmer Mohammad Zaman said: “We have no work to do. The government doesn’t support farmers nor provides them with seeds and fertilizers and we are forced to grow poppy.”
However, Col. Sadiqullah, counternarcotics director said, security forces had already launched poppy eradication drive and they were authorized to destroy the illicit crops.
However, the poppy eradication campaign could not be formally initiated due to cold weather and lawlessness in some areas of Wardoj and Kisham districts, he added.
He said the drive would last for two more months to clear the areas of illicit crops in several parts of the province.
The Ministry of Counternarcotics issued a grant of $1 million to the provinces where the poppy cultivation ratio decreased to zero level. Badakhshan is said to be among those provinces where poppy cultivation level to be reached to zero level in the last three years.
Badakhshan is considered to be the hub of drugs smuggling to other countries as the province borders with Pakistan, Tajikistan and China.
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