Kabul, November 7, 2023, Poppy cultivation and opium production have plunged more than 90 percent in Afghanistan since Taliban authorities banned the crop last April, according to a UN report published on Sunday.
Poppy cultivation has dropped by around 95 percent – from 233,000 hectares at the end of 2022 to 10,800 in 2023 – since the Taliban officially banned poppy farming in April 2022, according to the report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Opium production has taken the same path, falling from 6,200 tonnes to 333 tonnes over the same period giving a major blow to Afghan farmers who have experienced a staggering $1bn drop in their revenue.
UN officials said that while this trend could help in the fight against the illicit opium trade, it also presented risks to a vulnerable population that has long depended on the poppy trade for their livelihood.
“This presents a real opportunity to build towards long-term results against the illicit opium market and the damage it causes both locally and globally,” said Ghada Waly, executive director of UNODC.
“At the same time, there are important consequences and risks that need to be addressed for an outcome that is ultimately positive and sustainable, especially for the people of Afghanistan.”
The country has been facing humanitarian and financial hardships after the Taliban stormed to power in August 2021 following the withdrawal of US-led foreign forces. The group has struggled to revive the economy due to international sanctions and its financial and diplomatic isolation.