HC Deb 10 December 2003 vol 415 cc511-2W
Paul Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his calculation is of the total opium crop in Afghanistan in each year from 1999 to the present; and what changes have taken place in the amount of land devoted to poppy cultivation since the end of hostilities in 2001. [142865]

Mr. Rammell

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) conducts an annual survey into the level of opium poppy cultivation and production in Afghanistan. It has reported levels over the past five years as follows:

Year Hectares Tonnes
1999 91,000 4,600
2000 82,000 3,300
2001 8,000 185
2002 74,000 3,400
2003 80,000 3,600

The low level of cultivation and low production figure in 2001 reflect the Taliban ban on opium cultivation; the ban did not however address the underlying causes of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan and was enforced with mix of threat and bribery.

The UNODC poppy cultivation survey in 2003 has shown reductions in the traditional areas, compared to 2002, but new cultivation in some areas that have not previously been involved in poppy production. The reduction in the traditional areas demonstrates that drug control policy has been effective where the Afghan Government has been able to exert control. Production also tends to move from traditional areas to more marginal and inaccessible areas to protect crops against law enforcement activity. Increasing security and stability in Afghanistan remains key to progress in reducing opium production.

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