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1996 Afghanistan Opium Poppy Survey executive summary


1996 Afghanistan Opium Poppy Survey

1. The third UNDCP annual opium production survey for Afghanistan was completed by July 1996. The survey methodology was an improvement over the one used in the previous two years. Opium yield data was collected through a separate in-depth study carried out in 432 poppy fields across the country. The survey coverage area was expanded with the inclusion of Chimtal district in Balkh province and three new districts in Badakhshan and Farah provinces. A survey of the socio-economic factors influencing poppy farmers was also conducted.

Survey results are summarised as follows

2. During the 1995/96 growing season between 55,000 and 58,000 hectares were under opium poppy cultivation (the computed figure is 56,824 Ha). Compared to last year it shows a slight increase of 5.7 % in the land under poppy cultivation. The largest areas under poppy are still in Helmand and Nangarhar which together account for approximately 80% of all poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.



3. The data on yields and area under cultivation indicate a total opium production of between 2,200 mt and 2,300 mt (the computed figure is 2,248 mt). All opium production and yield figures used in this report are of 'Dry' opium which is 30% less than fresh opium. The computed figures indicate a 9 % increase in tonnage of the 1996 crop compared with 1994/95. Opium production estimates for 1995 have been updated as a result of data on actual production collected as a part of the 1996 survey.

4. Opium yields in the country range from a low of 13.8 kg/ha for rainfed poppy in Badakhshan to a high of 68 kg/ha in Helmand for the variety called Bur Khash Khash. The average national opium yield in 1996 is 39.6 kg/Ha.


5. The provinces in the south produce 65 % of the opium produced in the country. The provinces in the east contribute 30 % and the rest of the country produces 5% of total opium production in Afghanistan. In this growing season there have been no systematic efforts to eradicate poppy cultivation by any authority in the country.

Latest Trends in Poppy Cultivation

6. Overall poppy cultivation has remained similar to the amount grown during the 1994/95 season. Poppy cultivation has gone down in Helmand by 4,844 ha and in Kunar by 136 ha, while it has increased by 5,204 ha in Oruzgan and by 699 ha in Qandahar. New areas of cultivation in the country are Chimtal district in Balkh province and Gulistan district in Farah province. The price of fresh opium is approximately US$24 per kg.

7. Seven varieties of poppy grown in the country have been identified and the highest yielding variety is "Bor Khash Khash" while the least yield comes from the traditional variety grown in Badakhshan. Opium and its derivatives are increasingly leaving the country through the porous borders with the CIS countries.

8. Owing to a revision of the assessment of opium yield recorded by the survey in 1995, the revised figure for the production of opium in 1995 now stands at 2,066 mt as opposed to the earlier reported figure of 2,335 mt.