Bulk of poppy grown in 10 towns: minister
KABUL (Pajhwok): Acting Counternarcotics Minister Haroon Rashid Sherzad on Wednesday said the bulk of poppy crop was cultivated in 10 districts of four provinces this season.
Sherzad told reporters in Kabul 54 percent of poppy cultivation had been recorded in Nad Ali, Nawzad, Nahr-i-Saraj, Kajaki, Garmser, Musa Qala and Khanshin districts of Helmand province.
In addition, the Bakwa district of western Farah, Maiwand district of southern Kandahar and Khashrod district of southwestern Nimroz were among major areas where the illicit crop was cultivated, he said.
This year, poppy was cultivated on 209 hectares of land, compared with last year’s 165 hectares. He said the government had no control over 41 districts, where 92 percent of the poppy had been grown.
Earlier, a joint survey by the Ministry of Counternarcotics and the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) recorded 35 percent increase in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan this year.
Sherzad said all stakeholders should be involved in countering narcotics and only capturing drugs could not help eradicate the menace.
He said improved economy, a developed agriculture sector, finding market for agriculture products and rule of law were prerequisites to make the anti-poppy campaign a success.
Sherzai said both the government of Afghanistan and the international community had failed to prevent poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.
Andrey Avetisyan, UNODC regional representative, stressed the need for a long-term counter narcotics strategy. He said the agriculture sector needed to be modernised to improve the income of farmers to encourage them to switch to other crops.
He said the new Afghan government should concentrate on development of economy, rule of law and facilities to farmers. The UNODC findings show the number of drug addicts in Afghanistan has surged from 940,000 in 2010 to 1,600,000 in 2014.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.