From The Washington Post World, we find more details on the report and why poverty is cited as a reason for the growth in opium cultivation.
Tuesday’s report also shows that opium cultivation is spreading to new parts of the country, a troubling trend as international troops are trying to stabilize Afghanistan so that they can hand over security responsibilities to the government.
Farmers cultivated 131,000 hectares of opium poppies in 2011, a 7 percent increase over the previous year, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said in its periodic Afghan opium survey. Farmers said they turned to the illegal opium poppy because of “economic hardship and lucrative prices,” according to the report.
The jump came even though the Afghan government increased crop eradication by 65 percent and made significant seizures in recent months.