Afghanistan: Drugs

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 16th July 2008.

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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 what estimate he has made of the volume of opium produced in Afghanistan in each of the last five years; and what proportion is estimated to have been produced in Helmand province in each such year.

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

holding answer 15 July 2008

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) conducts annual surveys of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. In the North and East of Afghanistan, where security, alternative livelihoods and governance are improving, poppy cultivation fell in 2007. The number of provinces free from poppy doubled from six to 13. In 2008, the Government of Afghanistan's target is for over half of all provinces to become poppy-free. While we remain concerned by sustained opium production figures in the insecure South, we welcome the UNODC's prediction that overall poppy cultivation will decrease slightly in 2008. We continue to work with the Afghan Government, donors and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to sustain success in the North and East and to target operations against the drugs trade in the South.

The data as follows are drawn from the UNODC surveys.

Potential volume of opium produced in Helmand province in the last five years
Potential volume of opium produced in Afghanistan in the last five years (Tonnes) Tonnes Percentage
2007 8,200 4,399 54
2006 6,100 2,801 46
2005 4,100 1,004 24
2004 4,200 840 20
2003 3,600 684 19

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