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Opium Cultivation and Production in Afghanistan Declines

According to a report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in August 2008, opium cultivation and production in Afghanistan decreased from 2007 to 2008. Cultivation of opium poppies decreased by 19 percent, and the number of poppy-free provinces increased from 13 to 18. Additionally, production of opium fell by six percent.

The report notes that strong leadership by governors and other local officials in a number of provinces led to significant declines in cultivation and production of opium. Using campaigns against cultivation, peer pressure and alternative development programs, a number of provinces were able to post significant declines in both cultivation and production. Nangarhar province saw dramatic improvements, going from the second province in terms of cultivation in 2007 to being declared poppy-free in 2008. Currently the majority of Afghanistan's opium cultivation and production is limited to seven south-western provinces.

Afghan officials remain committed to fighting the cultivation and production of illegal drugs, using a variety of programs and initiatives to encourage farmers not to grow opium, stem the inflow of precursor materials into Afghanistan and prosecute high-level drug traffickers.

Read the full report here.

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