UN: Afghan opium production down
September 30th, 2010
11:14 AM ET

UN: Afghan opium production down

Opium production has dropped significantly in Afghanistan, in large part because of a plant infection in the country's war-torn south, a U.N. report said on Thursday.

"This is good news but there is no room for false optimism; the market may again become lucrative for poppy-crop growers so we have to monitor the situation closely," said Yury Fedotov, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.

The development was detailed in the office's 2010 Afghan Opium Survey. Insurgents in Afghanistan have financed their operations through the opium trade.

The report said the total 2010 production was estimated at 3,600 metric tons, down 48 per cent from 2009.

"The decrease was largely due to a plant infection hitting the major poppy-crop growing provinces of Helmand and Kandahar particularly hard," the report said.

"Plant diseases are a normal occurrence all over the world. In Afghanistan, which produces 92 per cent of the world's opium, they can affect the poppy crop. The current strain attacks the roots of the plant, climbing up the stem and causing the opium capsule to wither away. These signs are similar to those observed in previous such outbreaks in the region," the report said.

Prices of opium are rising after a decline from 2005, the report said.

"In the short run, the decline in opium production has pushed prices up. Despite the drop in overall production, the farm-gate income of opium farmers rose markedly. Now that opium is commanding high prices again, the gross income for farmers per hectare has increased by 36 per cent to $4,900.

The report said opium cultivation remained stable with 98 percent of cultivation taking place in nine provinces in the south and west of the country.

Filed under: Drug trade • United Nations
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    My daughter's boyfriend has a friend who is in the Marines. The friend said he spent his tour in Afghanistan protecting poppy crops. I guess that qualifies as winning hearts and rotting minds.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  2. William DeMuth

    Why not poison the crop?

    Less junkies, less revenue for the farmers.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • pseudo-intellectual

      Any chance this year's crop was intentionally infected...?

      October 5, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. scribe3s

    So now, our troops are in battle and dying because of opium production. The Taliban and all the little sects of extremists have access to cash the US and her allies have (apparent) trouble understanding. To take away a valuable trading product from them, which has probably been going on before Christianity was even an idea, is ridiculous. The US probably makes up a huge, if not the most, opiate-hungry nation on the planet. Americans are probably playing both sides of this coin. Why go to war and fight a drug war? I know the politics and details behind it, I'd just hate my son to come home in a box after a firefight with the Taliban over an opium field full of ready-to-produce poppies.

    October 5, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BobWhoLikesBeef

    Why do you add filthy every time you say Hindu, its annoying as well as disrespectful. And by the way, I am a proud Muslim.

    October 5, 2010 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. BobWhoLikesBeef

    I say instead of finding ways to fatten cows, scientists should find ways to drastically increase the dangerous effects of opium. Anybody who takes it will be killed, so there goes the Taliban's buyers.

    October 5, 2010 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bob

    The UN sells the Opium.

    October 4, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. oh boy

    Pork Chops Are the answer to peace in Mid east

    October 4, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Coach Lew

    This must be similar to the U.S. Corn Crop news. Why in the chimgus mingus are we in Afghanistan? All these people do is sit around and get high every day and then complain they don't have a nice place to live or food in their huts. What are we becomming, Drug Lords?

    October 4, 2010 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. Billy

    Aw, man! Now how am I going to be able to afford my smack?

    October 3, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Harvey Wallbanger

    The solution is staring them right in the face. Culture the biological agent that is causing the plant infection by the ton and spay it over every poppy field that can be located. It should be simple enough to find the fields using satellites to search for the poppies' spectral signature.

    October 3, 2010 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Peasant Farmer

      Why could the CIA destroy their own cash crops?

      October 4, 2010 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. EGH129

    If we have so many high tech bombs why don't we just wipe the $..t out of all of it? Whos going to stop us, some backwards mountain people with rocket launchers? We sure do well with the DEA flying over peoples houses to see if they can bust them for having ten pot plants. I guess wiping out all the potential heartbreak for many people and their families with eradication of heroin isn't as important. Stomp out pot!!!

    October 2, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. EGH129

    Does this mean all opiate street drug prices go up? That sucks!! Bet insurance and drug making companies love this!!

    October 2, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. Nightshades

    you can thank the fine work of the soecial activities division of the CIA, SF, and SFOD-D Delta. Packistan is the home of most hated man in the world. OBL. We're going to get him soon and he won't have southeastern Pakistan to hide in .

    *just for the record..OBL'S last transmission he told his guys to run. I kid you not.lol. He ran scared to death from the constant airstrikes from the AF Combat controllers and the push from Rangers, SF, Delta and the SBS of the UK..Like the OP said, pakistan take you're country back or lose it.
    Place that inj you're pipe and smoke it.

    October 1, 2010 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. kate

    take back your country !

    September 30, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • kate

      Take back tour country Pakistan. before it is is taken by the taliban.

      September 30, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kate

    Why don't the troupes ..and I mean all of them that are there just refuse to continue this madness ! walk away. go home . this bull has gone on long enough ! think about it. just think.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • kate

      I didn't mean to type 'troupes" i meant troop's what was i thinking.

      September 30, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonnybrud

      This an all volunteer force and most of these military people are making this a career so they have no choice but to go there. It is thier job and they do not have any other options. I am a recently retired MSgt from the USAF and I am telling you, it's not that easy to quit unless you want jail time and no career. People dont care about us military people once we get out into the civilian sector, it's dog eat dog as normal. I am so sick of civilian people saying we appreciate what you do, but when you get out of the service or retire they dont give a crap about you, especially when you are applying for jobs. What a bunch of phonies, let them sleep in a ditch for a few months without thier family and see how they like it. What a messed up country.

      October 1, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ringo

        Its true, the work world grants no favours.

        No one cares what we did last year. We are only as good as what we did yesterday, it is something I have been at for ten years and the next dollar is still not to be taken for granted. Especially in this economy.

        October 2, 2010 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
    • USMC Forever

      Madness would be surrendering to the Taliban so they can enslave Afghanistan again and make it a haven for al Qaeda to plot more 9/11-style attacks against the West.

      October 1, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  16. bailoutsos

    Just posted on CNN "NATO raid left four civilians dead - including two children " - These people had nothing to do with 9/11.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      What does that have to do with opium production?

      September 30, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • USMC Forever

        Nothing. He just posts the same thing to all boards hoping to give America a black eye. He's just a troll.

        September 30, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • John

        @bailoutsos. When i want accurate up to date news i look for it, i don't want your hand picked version.

        October 1, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • USMC Forever

        bailoutsos, go away. We're clever enough to find cnn.com and read headlines for ourselves. You're less than useless.

        October 1, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Jon Hausrath

    Obviously this is work of the CIA and DEA. I just want to know how many millions of dollars was spent to research and apply this bio-weapon. I don't think the poppy should be the cash crop of Afghanistan, but I am very weary of unintended consequences of lab-made/engineered disease that has widespread use. Please, America, stop screwing with Nature...

    September 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ...---...

      agree. stop messing with biodiversity. ecosystems. they just mess everything up.

      October 1, 2010 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
  18. bailoutsos

    They have called for Ashley Judd to help them.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Bob

    What do those idiots at the UN know, talk about a waste of NYC real estate. They are the most incompetant group on the planet next to unions.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  20. dan

    This sounds like a plant disease we should cultivate and spread to the remaining half of the opium crop.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Boney

    I'm thinking some agent orange

    September 30, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Clint, Wa.

    A few napalm bombs would fix that problem.

    September 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • rustbeltborn

      Don't worry the Obama and Pelozi will make sure the American tax payers fund another bailout for the opium farmers. We have to keep the CIA funded somehow...

      October 1, 2010 at 6:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      "Afghan Opium Production down" thanks to the Taliban and it will be eliminated when they take over. For the less-informed the taliban was first responsible for eradicating opium plantations from the soil of Afghanistan until they pi$$ed the CIA.

      October 1, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • bailoutsos

      Maybe the Republicans are right to keep America at war? There are no jobs in America for all those troops.

      October 4, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |