Twelve Afghan provinces are likely to show an increase in opium cultivation this year, according to UNODC’s Afghanistan opium risk assessment 2013, with cultivation also expected in provinces previously considered poppy-free. The findings point to a ‘worrying situation’, says the report, with high prices making cultivation an attractive option. There also remains a ‘strong association between insecurity, lack of agricultural assistance and opium cultivation’, with villages that had not received assistance in the previous year significantly more likely to grow opium. UNODC recently announced its intention to promote grassroots development in poor communities dependent on drug crops, in association with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Meanwhile, a UNODC study on organised crime in East Asia and the Pacific found that more than $16bn worth of heroin was trafficked in the region in 2011, two thirds of which was produced in Myanmar.
Reports at www.unodc.org