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Helmand farmers now reap 3 opium harvests a year!

Helmand farmers now reap 3 opium harvests a year!

Oct 31, 2016 - 14:07

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Growers in the lawless southern province of Helmand say they harvest two additional opium harvests annually, a possible reason for the increase in the production of the illegal substance.

Afghanistaninfo-icon’s opium production rose by 43 per cent to 4,800 metric tons and cultivation by 10 per cent during the current year, compared with 2015 levels, reveals the latest United Nations survey.

One farmer named Nematullah told a foreign news outlet he reaped two additional opium harvests a yearin midsummer and autumn. “We used to have one annual poppy harvest — we now have three.”

In an interview with AFP, the young man from Kajaki area said: “Helmand has a lot of war, a lot of landand very little employment except fighting for the Talibaninfo-icon. Poppies are a blessing -- it now gives us work throughout the year.”

Nematullah showed the interviewer ivory-coloured poppy seeds, which reportedly grow well in the two new seasons. Experts say the seeds reduce the poppy growth cycle to 70 days, compared to the usual five to six months.

Jelena Bjelica, a researcher with the Afghanistan Analysts Network, told the Paris-headquartered news agency: “Some parts of Helmand plant twice a year, because of the favourable climate, but three poppy seasons would be thanks to genetically modified seeds.”

PANinfo-icon Monitor/mud




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