The income of Afghan farmers has fallen by more than a billion dollars since the Taliban banned the cultivation of opium poppies, according to a report released on Sunday by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). As crops are eradicated, methamphetamine production increases.
Afghanistan was the world’s largest producer of opium and the main source of heroin in Europe and Asia until the Taliban took power in 2021. Their ban on the crop the following spring dealt a blow to hundreds of thousands of farmers.
From the Bureau’s report UN The Drugs and Crime Commission shows that after the ban, opium cultivation decreased by 95%. – reported the AP agency. By 2023, the value of Afghan opioid exports often exceeded the value of legal exports of all goods, and pre-ban opioid exports accounted for between 9 and 14 percent. national GDP.
The latest UNODC report shows that lower incomes in the opioid supply chain may stimulate other illicit activities, such as trafficking in weapons, people or synthetic drugs. A September UNODC report said Afghanistan is now the world’s fastest-growing producer of methamphetamine, with seizures of the synthetic drug increasing as poppy cultivation declines.
Afghans are struggling with drought, severe economic difficulties and the continuing consequences of decades of war and natural disasters. The economic crisis, together with the suspension of international financing that sustained the economy under Western-backed rule, is driving people into poverty, hunger and addiction.
“They urgently need significant investment.”
Afghans need urgent humanitarian assistance to meet their immediate needs, ease the shock of loss of income and save lives, said UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly. “Afghanistan urgently needs significant investment in sustainable livelihoods,” she said.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA