Afghanistan (Poppy Cultivation)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 29th March 2010.

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Photo of Alan Simpson Alan Simpson Labour, Nottingham South 2:30 pm, 29th March 2010

I welcome the proposals to support the growing of pomegranates, wheat, raisins and alternative crops that have been proposed by Afghan farmers over many years, but does the Minister understand that for them the key issue is not what they will be encouraged to grow but who will be a secure buyer of what they grow? Has the Minister any plans to step in and at least recognise that the starting point for what they grow at the moment is the poppy crop and that we ought to be looking at ways in which that can legitimately be used for the production of diamorphine?

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