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Afghan opium price shoots up by 133pc

Afghan opium price shoots up by 133pc

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Jan 13, 2012 - 14:23

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The price of opium in Afghanistaninfo-icon dramatically soared by 133 percent last year, a joint survey by the United Nations and the Kabul government reveals.

The farm-gate income from opium amounted to more than id="mce_marker".4 billion, or nine per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), the 2011 Afghan Opium Survey says.

Released late on Thursday, the survey was conducted by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Ministry of Counter Narcotics.

UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov estimated export earnings from the opiates at $2.4 billion, equivalent to 15 per cent of the GDP.

“Opium is, therefore, a significant part of the Afghan economy and provides considerable funding to the insurgency and fuels corruption,” he said.

A concurrent fall in the price of wheat compounded the problem, according to the document, which says gross income from opium in 2011 was 11 times higher than that from wheat, the biggest income differential in eight years.

The illicit crop was cultivated over 131,000 hectares last year, seven per cent higher than in 2010, the survey showed. The amount of opium produced went up by 61 per cent, from 3,600 tonnes in 2010 to 5,800 tonnes last year.

Fedotov said the survey sent a strong message that the worldinfo-icon could not afford to be ignore the problem. “We thank the government of Afghanistan for the leadership and dedication already shown, but a stronger commitment from a broad range of national and international partners is needed to turn this worrying trend around.”

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