Opium Production in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by re-stilly, Nov 3, 2009.

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  1. I apologise if this has been done before but I was thinking about the Opium production in Stan and how it could be solved in a different way rather than trying to stop them from growing it.

    Would it not make sense to actually encourage poppy growing and then pay the farmers more than the Taliban for the opium then refine it to make Morphine that could be used in Hospitals both in Afghanistan and other 3rd world countries.

    This would give the farmers a legitimate avenue for their crops, they get more money for it than from the Taliban. So in theory it is a win/win situation.
  2. Google "Senlis" They have been trying to make an issue of this for the last 5 years or so. The usual argument against it is that there isnt enough security in the 'Ghan at the moment to make this a go.

    Also look for a newish book called "The Seeds of Terror" by Gretchen Peters. Very good look at how the taliban are now really all about opium.
  3. I would of thought that by making the crop worth more to the farmer he would be keen to see his crop go to the right channels, it could also help in stopping Taliban recruitment as his crops are not being destroyed he has income and is not in debt to the Taliban.
  4. We would offer cash to the farmer.

    The Taliban will offer cash whilst pointing an AK at the farmer.

    Which one is he going to sell to?
  5. Fronty

    Fronty Old-Salt Book Reviewer

    There's also the issue of government policy with regard to drugs.

    Do you think that a government that has a very public anti-drug production stance (insert just about any government here) would be able to legitimately defend paying anyone to grow something that could be used to make heroin?
  6. I think we are talking Morphine type drugs, not open selling of H.
  7. Fronty

    Fronty Old-Salt Book Reviewer

    Heroin is only a couple of steps chemically from morpine. You have one, you can make the other.
  8. The idea is that the Gov in question- insert who you will- purchases the crop and therefore heroin isn't made. Turkey were quite successful in this regard.

    However, it is more likely that the Gov would take over production of opium in state owned farms and the farmers who currently grow opium would be left to grow other stuff which they cant get to market and cant preserve. (For instance, in winter, onions cost as much in helmand as opium, well nearly!)

    The reason the Afghan Gov isn't more down on opium is because some very senior people and their relatives are involved in it.
  9. There are farms all over the world licensed to grow opium by many western governments.
  10. No we don't because most of the "western" drug companies now make pain killers that aren't opiates. However these painkillers are more expensive than opiates and 3rd world countries cant afford them so there is a massive shortage of painkillers in the 3rd world.

    That's where the stuff made from the opium crop would go. But that would not be in the vested interests of the massive drug companies who can afford expensive political lobbists to make their case in Dc and Whitehall.
  11. Why not, we pay the Australians to grow poppies to make morphine, Tasmania grows 40% of the worlds legal opium. (Link) I understand the AK47 problem but surely there must be a way to enforce that
  12. Its a good idea but won't be done as some farmers will still use the opium to make herion because the Taliban will treaten them.

    It would benifit everyone in the long run but it could go wrong as your could end up having soldiers protecting crops that they think are going to make morphine to help people and but are actualling going to produce heroin that willl end up on the streets of Britain.
  13. Jarrod, I do agree that there is also a shortage of Ds&Ns in the 3rd world but that doesn't detract from the fact that there is a shortage of pain killers.
  14. The Foreign Office said this back in 2008

    Basically, we don't think (with good reason) that the Afghans could control the growing area.

    The underlying problem is that the main growing area (Helmand) is now an environmental disaster area. See this article http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2009/10/kabul_city_number_one_part_3.html

    Reckless hydro-engineering in the 1950's turned the Helmand valley water supply salty. Only wheat or poppies grow well, and wheat requires irrigation. Constant fighting, corruption and drought has knackered the local water supply, so poppies are basically the only cash crop which the locals can count on to sell for their basic requirements. Ironically, the best result in poppy reduction was last year, when commodity prices went mad, and wheat became a more commercial crop than opium.