Poppy Cultivation and Potential Opium Production in Afghanistan
The annual United States Government estimate of “Afghanistan Poppy Cultivation and Potential Opium Production” found poppy cultivation decreased in 2018 compared to 2017, but remained at a near record high. Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan declined 33 percent, from 329,000 hectares in 2017 to 221,000 hectares in 2018.
Similarly, potential pure opium production dropped by 42 percent, from 9,140 metric tons in 2017 to 5,330 metric tons in 2018. The decline in cultivation and potential pure production are attributed to large areas of drought in Afghanistan and low opium prices driven by a record 2017 crop.
Afghanistan Poppy/Opium 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Hectares under cultivation 115,000 180,000 198,000 213,000 201,000 207,000 329,000 221,000
Potential pure production (metric tons) 4,400 4,300 5,500 6,300 4,100 5,800 9,140 5,330
The continued large-scale Afghanistan poppy cultivation and opium production further complicates the government of Afghanistan’s ability to maintain rule of law and promote a road to peace.
Although heroin originating from Afghanistan is not the driving force of the United States opioid epidemic, drug revenue generated by the Taliban hinders its Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency efforts and broader South Asia Strategy.
The consequences of Afghanistan heroin trafficking are felt by the citizens of Afghanistan and countries along worldwide drug trafficking routes. The United States Government will continue to work to enhance its longstanding partnership with the government of Afghanistan to address this serious problem.