Afghanistan: Drugs

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 29th October 2007.

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Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many personnel are involved in poppy crop eradication and diversification in Helmand Province; and what their targets are for 2007.

Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Poppy eradication in Helmand Province is performed by Afghans in the Poppy Eradication Force (PEF) and in the Governor Led Eradication (GLE) forces. There are approximately 615 personnel in the PEF. Governor Wafa has not confirmed how many personnel he will commit to the GLE force this year.

UK personnel do not conduct eradication, but do provide support to the planning and targeting work. Implementation of eradication is the responsibility of the Afghan Government. No eradication targets have been set for Helmand for 2008.

The Government's main involvement in livelihoods diversification in Helmand is through the Department for International Development (DFID)—funded Helmand Agriculture and Rural Development Programme (HARDP). This is a three-year programme designed to increase the economic opportunities for rural poor people in Helmand, including those that make a living from growing poppy. Activities include construction of rural roads, wells and latrines; provision of legal credit; support for small-scale community development projects; and agricultural support. The overall target for the programme is to deliver improved livelihood opportunities for 590,000 people by the end of the third year.

HARDP is managed by the four-person DFID Livelihoods team based in Kabul. Additional programme support is provided by the three-person DFID Helmand team which is split between Kabul and Lashkar Gah. However, actual implementation is carried out by the Ministry for Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), and by a number of non-governmental organisations working under the auspices of MRRD and the Ministry for Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.

Additional livelihoods diversification activities are provided through the Government's programme of Quick Impact Projects, which is managed by two staff members based in Lashkar Gah.

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