Press Releases

     
    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/NAR/696
      15 September 2000
     Afghanistan Opium Cultivation in 2000 
    Substantially Unchanged

     Country Still the Largest Opium Producer in the World
     
     

    VIENNA 15 September (UN Information Service) – There were no substantial changes in the area under poppy cultivation in Afghanistan for the year 2000,  the Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) Pino Arlacchi  announced today, referring to the findings of the annual Afghanistan Opium Poppy Survey.  With an overall fresh opium harvest  of more than 3000 metric tonnes,  Afghanistan remains the largest opium producer in the world.

     The results of the survey  indicate that  a total of  3,275 metric tons of raw opium were produced in the current year, or 28% less than the record 1999 output of  4581 tonnes. This reduction was mainly due to the protracted drought that ravaged southern Afghanistan and many parts of the North since the beginning of the year, causing  lower opium yield for the 2000 harvest. 

     The area under cultivation in 2000 was estimated to be about 82,000 hectares, 10% down from the 91,000 hectares registered in 1999.  The two provinces of  Helmand and Nangarhar, with over 62,000 hectares under poppy cultivation, accounted for some 76 % of the national total.  Taliban control 96% of the areas under cultivation in 2000.

     Of the 125 districts which were surveyed, out of a total of 344 in the country, 123 were found to be cultivating opium,19 more than in 1999, with the top ten accounting for 54% of the total. The highest opium production was recorded in the district of Nad-e-Ali, Helmand province, with an output of 425 metric tons, or 13% of the national total.

     The three districts of Ghorak, Khakrez and Maiwand, in Qandahar province, where the UN International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) is implementing an alternative development pilot project, recorded in 2000 a decrease of about 50% in opium harvest, in line with projected targets. This demonstrates that alternative development programmes, if coupled with the commitment of the authorities to eliminate cultivation of illicit crops, can have a significant impact on production.

     The price of fresh opium was reported to be about $ 30 / kilogramme, with a decrease of almost 50% with respect to 1999 prices.  As a result, the entire 2000  crop of fresh opium is estimated to be worth about  $ 98 million.

     UNDCP conducts in Afghanistan, with the approval of the Taliban authorities, an annual ground-based Opium Poppy Survey, during which surveyors visit all the areas where opium poppy cultivation has been reported. Using a census methodology, they record the extent of opium grown in each region, opium yields and farmgate prices.  

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