Wednesday, November 13, 2013

U.S. Spends Record Sums to Keep Afghan Opium Output High

November 13, 2013

Afghan poppy farmers planted a record opium crop this year, as the international community’s decade-long efforts at curbing the world’s biggest source of heroin all-but founders.

About 209,000 hectares of poppy were cultivated this season with an estimated yield of 5,500 tonnes, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) annual opium survey released today.

It marks the third consecutive year that cultivation has risen and eclipses the record 193,000 hectares in 2007, with experts now believing the total could rise further in the coming years.

Keeping Afghanistan's agricultural production up has proved costly for the U.S., which has spent $665 billion dollars in the past decade to prop up the Afghan economy.  This year's crop will cost $66.5 billion dollars, or roughly $82 billion per tonne.

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