Cannabis cultivation rises in Baghlan
PULI-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): Cannabis cultivation has increased and poppy decreased in northern Baghlan province, an official said on Sunday.
Fazl Rahman Andarabi, the counternarcotics director, told Pajhwok Afghan News they had no exact figures, but cannabis had reportedly been cultivated on an estimated 250 acres of land in Borka and Andarab districts.
As many as 150 hectares of land was under cannabis cultivation last year, when the government failed to eradicate the illicit plant on a targeted 80-hectare of land.
“We are trying to annihilate cannabis the same way as poppy because both are illegal and harmful,” Andarabi said.
He recalled previously up to 700 hectares of land was used for growing poppy crops in Baghlan, a measurement reduced to 150 hectares last year and only 90 hectares this season.
He said the plants were mostly grown in remote localities, making their entire destruction impossible due to insecure and impassable paths.
Mohammad Azim, a resident of the Bano district, said they had been growing poppy crops in the past and switched to growing hashish after the government started eradicating poppies.
“I have now grown my five acres of land with wheat and rice crops, but have cultivated hashish on the margins,” he added.
He called wheat and rice yields as unsatisfactory, prompting farmers to grow cannabis. He said farmers could abandon growing the illicit crops if the government provided with an alternative.
Maulvi Mohammad Rassoul, a religious scholar, said cultivation of narcotics producing crops were forbidden in Islam. “Those who grow poppy and hashish are sinners and are responsible for the addiction,” he noted.
According to the Ministry of Counternarcotics, previously the country had resources to treat only one percent of addicts, but now this capacity has increased to six percent.
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