Helmand poppy crop tripled since UK took over security
Opium poppy production in the Afghan province of Helmand, where British forces are stationed, has tripled compared to 2006 when the British first went there, a United Nations report says.
The UN said in a report released on Monday that opium production in Helmand is increasing at a record level and “very high” cultivation levels are expected there.
According to the report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), almost half of Afghan opium is produced in Helmand where more than 75,000 hectares of land were given over to poppy cultivation last year, that is up from just 25,500 hectares in 2005.
“We can't deny the fact that the level of cultivation now is much higher than it has ever been under the Taliban,” Martin Raithelhuber of UNODC said.
The report, titled “The Afghanistan Opium Winter Risk Assessment 2013”, also said opium production has increased for the third year in a row in Afghanistan with total poppy cultivation standing at 154,000 hectares heading to break the 2007 record of 193,000 hectares this year.
The Asian country produced 75 percent of the global poppy crop in 2012 with the figure expected to take a 15 percent leap this year.