Poppy Cultivation and Potential Opium Production in Afghanistan | Security Risks Asia Made with Humane Club

Poppy Cultivation and Potential Opium Production in Afghanistan

Published Apr 13, 2019
Updated Apr 19, 2020

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. 

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