Afghanistan- Poppy blight

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by HectortheInspector, May 13, 2010.

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  1. Bad news for Junkies everywhere. Supply and demand might make the Taliban quite happy.

    A serious disease is affecting opium poppies in Afghanistan, Antonio Maria Costa, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has said.

    Mr Costa told the BBC that this year's opium production could be reduced by a quarter, compared with last year.

    He said the disease - a fungus - is thought to have infected about half of the country's poppy crop. Afghanistan produces 92% of the world's opium.

    Mr Costa said opium prices had gone up by around 50% in the region.

    That could have an impact on revenues for insurgent groups like the Taliban which have large stockpiles of opium, he added.

    The fungus attacks the root of the plant, climbs up the stem and makes the opium capsule wither away.

    It was affecting poppies in the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, the heartland of opium cultivation and the insurgency in Afghanistan, he said.

    Nato 'blamed'

    Some local farmers believe Nato troops are responsible for the outbreak, but Mr Costa denied that this was the case.

    "I don't see any reasons to believe something of that sort," he said. "Opium plants have been affected in Afghanistan on a periodic basis."

    Mr Costa also said this was an opportunity for the international community to bring in support to try to persuade farmers to turn away from planting opium.

    He said the amount of opium produced by one hectare (2.47 acres) had almost doubled to 56kg (123lb) in the five years to 2009.

    "Nature really played in favour of the opium economy; this year, we see the opposite situation," he added.

    Mr Costa said that farmers now grew opium poppies in only five or six Afghan provinces, as opposed to all 34 five years ago.
  2. GM blight works!!!!!
  3. I bet the Daily Wail will go nuts - 'Only 6 months to Remembrance Sunday and Poppies in short Supply'
  4. Still can't understand what happened to the idea of paying the Afghan farmers to grow crops other than poppies.

    It would cut off the funding for the insurgents and significantly decrease drugs available here.

    Do we really have a policy in Afghanistan ? We are fighting to win supposedly, but nine years on.....................
  5. Weak leadership. Poor Afghan government control. Competing and mixed civil/military aid packages. High staff turnover.The list goes on.
    Really, the 21st Century West lost track of the basic reality of a purely agricultural society. It's absolutely pragmatic, and very short term in its' thinking. The important thing is THIS YEARS crop. Investment for the future (Especially in a war zone) is folly. You need to eat TODAY. So, opium poppies, a tough, high value annual crop, make sense. Planting orchards is a peacetime luxury. With opium you can have a guaranteed cash crop with which to buy grain. Growing the grain yourself is risky, and the crop is vulnerable to drought and pests that poppies aren't (or weren't).
  6. No doubt there are already rumours out there that this is the work of the clever infidels robbing honest poppy farmers of thier income.

    If only they knew...
  7. Bloke I met in a pub says its the CIA who released the fungus. It was impacted onto the boots of the soldiers so they spread it about on patrol. He should know as he was drinking pimms and red bull.

  8. Look on the bright side. The crop will be allowed to wither. Had our previous Lords and Masters still been in power, Gordon would be sending in government experts with plane loads of fungicide to get the poppy farms up and running again, together with a cheque for a billion quid to 'lift the Taliban out of poverty'.

    Why aren't they chucking this fungus out the back of chartered cargo planes? Give the whole country a good dusting from an altitude that's beyond missile range. Biological warfare is very under-appreciated IMHO.

    In my day, the blokes at Porton Down were working double shifts poisoning 'volunteers' to develop new bugs to drop on the Russkies. None of this PC, Geneva Convention cr@p back in the good old days ........ no women at sea either ......... drowned any gay boys we discovered ...... chucked the wounded over the side ...... we were all pi$$ed on the rum ration ....... negligent discharge of a Polaris missile ...... etc etc.
  9. Ancient Mariner ............... "Sea Daddy" to the ARRSE community!!!!!!
  10. On the plus side, a drop in income for the Taliban. On the minus, an increase in hungry young men looking for paid employment to feed their families.

    Supply and demand could cut both ways, you know.
  11. yeah i think its going to kick off more because people need to be fed n will do anything for money
  12. I think the statement about biological warfare being under appreciated is spot on. Why the hell would you waste time trying to bomb Times Square when you could fly over Texas in a Cessna dropping foot and mouth virus flasks on George Bush's ranch -- and many, many others. Hit the Americans where it hurts, right in the hamburgers!
  13. Excuse me for being stupid,,,,,,,but, why doesn't the west buy the opium and sell it to pharmacutical[sp] companies so they can turn it into medical grade morphine, buy it for more than the taliban and it cuts off their money supply,,,,,,,,,,,simples.

  14. I thought this was the plan about 2 years ago. 9 years on, one country, a coalition of around 43 countries and we seem to be no nearer the end of the tunnel.