Afghan farmers continue to grow opium poppy amid Taliban’s unclear policy

Afghan farmers have said they will continue to grow opium poppy as the have not sent any clear standings towards the eradication of the poppy cultivation, a media report said.

Farmers in the country have said that opium cultivation is necessary for the survival of their families as it is profitable, easy to grow and needs less water.

Noor, a 52-year-old Afghan farmer and resident of Western Farah Province, said that he has no choice besides cultivating the opium poppy as his family will remain hungry without the crop, reported Voice of America.

Noor, who is a father of 10 children, did not want his full name to be revealed.

Stressing that he is not sure how he will be able to provide food to his children until the harvest, Noor said that his family does not have food for even a month. “The prices have skyrocketed, and people cannot afford to buy food,” said Noor.

With regard to food insecurity in Afghanistan, United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization released a report in October, warning that the number of people facing acute food insecurity in will increase to 22.8 million by March 2022, when compared to 18.8 million from September to October 2021, according to Voice of America (VOA).

Noor has said that wheat is less profitable and not as easy to grow as poppy.

Emphasising that farmers in the region are facing drought, Noor said that poppy needs less water and takes only six months to grow.

A surge in the price of opium was reported after the took control of in mid-August.

Prices doubled from May 2021 levels as an immediate reaction to the changed political situation, said a report released by the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) last month.

Opium poppy fields yield five to six times more than wheat or corn, VOA quoted another Afghan farmer Sayed Ali residing at eastern Nangarhar province as saying.

He further said that in the areas where opium poppy was not grown in the last 20 years, farmers have grown poppy this year.

Underlining that this is the source of their livelihood, Ali said there is “no market” for other products.

When the took control of the country in August, its spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid had said that the group will curb the cultivation of the opium poppy and its cultivation.

But last month Mujahid in an interview made a contradictory statement against August’s remarks. He said that Afghans are facing “an economic crisis, and stopping people from their only means of income is not a good idea”.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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