According to a UNDOC report Afghanistan earns around $1.2 billion- $2.1 billion annually through illegal opium trade. This accounts for roughly 10% of the country’s revenues.Although some experts claim that these numbers are a bit exaggerated.
Afghanistan’s opium economy and illegal drug trade is expected to expand even more with Taliban in the driver seat yet again. The area cover under poppy cultivation has expanded from 8000 hectares in 2001 to 224,000 hectares in 2020. Despite spending billions of dollars and executing multiple air-raids, the US has been unsuccessful in dismantling Afghanistan’s opium economy.
Why Afghanistan opium economy is so strong?
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, opium cultivation has increased by 37%. The reason behind this can be the sudden growth in unemployment rates since the pandemic rendered people jobless. Poppy cultivation generates a lot of profits so these unemployed people turned back to the land to earn a decent living. Opium trade also plays a major role in sustaining Afghanistan’s economy. Moreover, Taliban fills up its coffers from the profit generated by opium trade.
Taliban also imposes 10% taxes on farmers cultivating under its jurisdiction which accounts for most of the groups revenues.
How to put a stop on poppy cultivation in Afghanistan?
Experts say that people move out of poppy farming when non-farm jobs are created. This is true for every crop in every country. The contribution of agriculture in a nations economy diminishes as it moves towards economic growth and development. To curb poppy cultivation and opium trade, is to create more non-farm jobs by holistic development of the country. Although, since Afghanistan does not receive any overseas financial aids anymore, the country’s opium trade has fired up
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