|The Afghan Opium Drug Policy: Is It Poppycock?|
|Key Words||Drug trade, incentives, payments|
Afghan farmers are being paid $250 per jirib (about 2000 square meters) of opium poppy to destroy their crop. If they do not, they face arrest. The interim government also called on farmers to recognize that the Islamic religion deems drugs to be evil.
The international community is concerned that a bumper crop is going to fuel the illicit drug trade in the region. Western intelligence estimates that the crop could produce 4,500 tonnes of opium or 450 tonnes of heroin. The UN's estimates are lower, but still above the 150 tonnes of heroin believed to have entered Europe annually in recent years.
It is questionable whether the Afghan government's incentives will be
sufficient. Although the payments exceed what would be earned for growing
wheat, they are far below the sums obtained for poppies on the free market.
Moreover, the local warlords and drug leaders are still powerful relative
to the national government.
(Updated June 15, 2002)
|Source||Jimmy Burns and Mark Turner, "Afghanistan's farmers to be paid to destroy opium crops," Financial Times, April 5, 20.|
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