UnNews:Opium still dominates agriculture in Afghanistan

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Opium still dominates agriculture in Afghanistan

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15 May 2014

300px-Opium smoking 1874

Opium is a popular choice of drug in Afghanistan.

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Opium poppies are still the main force of agriculture in Afghanistan, but there is a growing push for farmers to actually start producing other plants as well, including methamphetamine, to have the ability to make money from other sources.

A report from the United Nations, entitled "Afghanistan Opium Survey 2013" released in December of 2013, concluded that the trade of opium was valued at just under $US1 billion. The report stated that this could be greatly optimised.

"One of our biggest challenges about having a drug in cultivation is that it does not generate tax revenue too well, and therefore we need a diverse number of drugs in the system in order to generate more tax revenue," a spokesperson for Afghanistan's Ministry of Narcotics said.

"We see a big future for implementing methamphetamine into the system because of the extremely high demand from Western civilisations."

The Ministry also said that in a country where the roles of men and women are divided, aid needs to be given to women, who traditionally make income through cocaine production, which is valued at a mere $US74 million. Producing cocaine can be problematic because the cocaine needs to be produced just right, otherwise it smells similar to horse manure. However, cocaine production can be improved through relatively simple measures such as importing more attractive erythroxylon, which is used in the production of cocaine.

Narcotics aid groups say that education is the key, and they are focusing their attention on training local teachers so it is possible for children to learn about these different types of drugs and how they can benefit the economy.

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