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Afghan farmers harvest opium in dire economic times

Friday, Apr 12, 2013 - 01:25

April 12 - Financially strapped Afghan farmers cultivate poppies as U.N. admits attempts to halt the trade have failed. Sarah Sheffer reports.

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April is the traditional poppy harvesting season in Afghanistan's Helmand Province. Finacially strapped Afghan farmers are continuing to cultivate the deadly source of opium and heroin as the UN admits defeat in its attempts to enourage them to grow other, legal crops. Afghanistan supplies about 90 percent of the world's opium, from which heroin is made. There is a foreign-funded scheme attempting to wean farmers off growing poppies by offering incentives such as subsidised seeds and fertiliser to grow legal crops. But this local farmer says without the extra income from poppies, he can't feed himself or his family. And the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said the international community and Afghan government had failed in its attempts to tackle Afghanistan's drug problem. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME COUNTRY REPRESENTATIVE, JEAN-LUC LEMAHIEU, SAYING: "We have seen enormous inflow in this country over the last decades, and with regards to the drug control situation, we still see increases of the opium cultivation, so we cannot say in any way, based on the facts, that we have succeeded. We have failed." The country's drug trade lines insurgents' pockets with more than $100 million U.S. dollars annually and is earning traffickers billions more.

Afghan farmers harvest opium in dire economic times

Friday, Apr 12, 2013 - 01:25

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