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Study of opium poppy production in the province of Badakhshan for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
December 2007 - January 2008

The UNODC commissioned Groupe URD to carry out an evaluation to identify the priority needs of vulnerable farmers who grow or might be tempted to grow opium poppies in the province of Badakhshan.

  Table of contents  

 The context

More than 90% of the world’s production in opium, and the heroin that is derived from it, comes from Afghanistan (UNODC study, 2007). The amount of land used to illegally grow opium in Afghanistan has risen constantly since the fall of the Taliban and increased by 17% in 2007 to reach 193 000 hectares. The export of opium to neighbouring countries generates 4 million dollars in revenue, more than half of Afghan’s GDP.
Reducing opium poppy cultivation in the provinces where it takes place is an ongoing challenge for national and international actors. Several approaches have already been tested (eradication, crop substitution, buying crops from the farmers, etc.), but nothing that has been attempted so far has been successful.

 Objectives of the evaluation

In this context, UNODC is trying to redefine its strategy to stop opium poppy cultivation by implementing a global programme which includes the government and development programmes.

Groupe URD was asked to carry out an evaluation to:

  • Identify the priority needs of vulnerable farmers who grow or might be tempted to grow opium poppies;
  • Analyse the potential of food aid to reduce opium cultivation.

Individual and collective interviews were carried out in a large number of households in order to analyse the constraints facing farmers, the strategies that they adopt, the principle factors which lead farmers to grow opium poppies and the conditions which would be necessary for them to stop or never start growing this crop.
The priority needs of the targetted groups were identified via qualitative and quantitative approaches.

The results of this study are not available to the public.