Afghanistan’s Record Opium Year

The world's largest opium supplier harvests a record amount of poppy

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Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan rose to a new high of more than 200,000 hectares in 2013, a 36% increase over last year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said Wednesday. The report, part of the agency’s annual survey, indicates a grave trend for the country as U.S. and NATO forces withdraw over the next year.

The 2013 figure represents the highest total cultivation ever for Afghanistan, surpassing the previous peak of 193,000 hectares in 2007. Total opium production reached roughly 5,500 tons, an increase of 49% since 2012. Opium prices fell slightly, but according to the report, the farm-gate value — the price of a crop when the farmer sells it — increased by almost a third. Nearly $1 billion of raw opium came out of Afghanistan last year, accounting for 4% of the country’s GDP.

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