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Afghanistan: UN envoy predicts growing opium poppy crop

Afghanistan: UN envoy predicts growing opium poppy crop

Lakhdar Brahimi
The senior United Nations official in Afghanistan today predicted an increase in the country's opium poppy output and urged international support for the Government's drug control efforts.

"Preliminary assessments have projected this year's poppy crop at around 2,500 tons," Lakhdar Brahimi, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, told participants at the Second International Drug Control Coordination Meeting, held in Kabul. "The real figure will become apparent once the poppy survey is out but unfortunately, I think it is inevitable that the harvest will maintain Afghanistan's place at the top of the poppy exporting countries."

Mr. Brahimi hailed efforts by the Government to lower opium production, adding that the authorities "will need the assistance of the international community across a number of government sectors."

Pointing out that controlling drugs is a long-term endeavour, the envoy said, "It will take time to build institutions, time for the economy itself to become strong enough to offer alternative livelihoods to poppy farmers."