The Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MoCN) says that opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan decreased 19 per cent in 2015, compared to the previous year.
The minister of counter narcotics in a press conference noted that in the year 2015 we witness a decrease in poppy cultivation and many achievements in seizing drugs.
“Of the 224,000 hectares of lands 183000 of them cultivated poppy, which shows a 19 percent decrease,” said Salamat Azimi, minister of counter narcotics.
Azimi emphasized that Afghan Opium Cultivation decreases for the first time in six years.
Lower levels of cultivation translates to a 48 percent reduction in the potential production of opium in 2015 – 3,300 tons compared to 6,400 tons in 2014.
According to a U.N. and Afghan government joint survey, unfavorable weather conditions were a major reason for the decline. They also pointed out there was a change in the methodology used to estimate areas of poppy cultivation, and while there was certainly a decrease, the percentage may not be exact.
In the meantime, deputy of counter narcotics interior ministry said about the lack of enough forces to stop selling drugs.
“We do not have the capacity to prevent selling drugs in the capital. I have to say that we have seized around 2500 kilograms of drugs from Sayed Abad and Ahmad Abad districts of Paktia province,” said Baz Muhammad Ahmadi, deputy of interior ministry counter narcotics.
However, the United Nations announced the increase of poppy cultivation in the north and capital.
“Balkh, Faryab, Badghis, Sar-e Pul, Uruzgan, Ghor, Kunduz and Kabul are those provinces which poppy cultivations show increase in them,” said Regional representative of the UN Office on Drug Control.
Billions of dollars have been spent on counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan in the past decade, including programs encouraging farmers to switch to other cash crops like wheat, fruit and saffron.