UNODC assesses Afghan farming mentality

Sept. 10, 2013 at 12:53 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Afghan farmers review family needs, income and security risk when deciding whether to grow legal or illegal crops, a U.N. report on drugs said.

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said cannabis farming in Afghanistan last year yielded a potential $6,400 per hectare for Afghan farmers. It said that exceeded the $4,600 per hectare for opium.

The UNODC said most cannabis farming is centered in the south of Afghanistan. Some parts of the country have seen reductions the number of cannabis fields because of provincial bans. Local administrations imposed restrictions because fields were used as hiding places by insurgent groups.

UNODC regional representative Jean-Luc Lemahieu said some assistance to Afghanistan was curtailed because of generalizations about farmers.

"A farmer decides on planting licit or illicit crops in a holistic way including as much family needs, food security, access to markets, access to non-farm income, as there is risk," he said in a report published Tuesday. "Only an 'opium farmer', or a 'cannabis farmer' or even a 'wheat farmer' simply does not exist."

Afghanistan is typically singled out for its heroin production. UNODC said last week larger volumes of heroin were coming from Afghanistan through East Africa since 2010.

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