Friday, October 21, 2011
Opium production up again: Let the Taliban back in power and get the people to grow Pomegranates
Bush's opium production in Afghanistan rises 61% in 2011: they want to know why and how to reduce it? Let the Taliban back in power and get the people to grow Pomegranates. Haven't they noticed by now Opium growth is increasing with a resurgence by the Taliban?
Opium production in Afghanistan rose by 61% this year compared with 2010, according to a UN report. The increase has been attributed to rising opium prices that have driven farmers to expand cultivation of the illicit opium poppy by 7% in 2011.
You know, my first thought when I saw this record opium Production in Afghanistan I thought back to previous discussions on Afghanistan and the failure Bush guaranteed there, in Iraq, and the entire middle east, when he ignored all advice to the contrary and attacked Iraq not to unseat Saddam but to get our military into the middle east. That is for another discussion!
I remembered that I did a story in the past when it was announced that Afghanistan had a record year harvesting 6,700 tons. More than the entire world market could consume. At the time Production increased 49 percent from the year before thanks to the US. The estimated 6,700 tons even broke the world record of 1999, when 5,764 tons of opium were produced globally. Taking into account that the insurgency derives a significant amount of revenue from drugs, I decided to research just what has happened to the Opium trade since we attacked Afghanistan.
First it seems to me that criticism of Clinton aside, I think we could have gone about this differently too. I don't know why we could not have done a surgical strike or even used unmanned aircraft as we have since, and then tried Diplomacy. Instead as Bush attacked Iraq and created an insurgent and sectarian civil war where there was none. He attacked Afghanistan and created an over abundance of opium. I was stunned when I got to thinking about opium production when the Taliban was in power and researched it.
The following information is from a story by the BBC in 2002. First, The Taliban banned poppy cultivation in 2000 so in 2001 production was down to 185 tons. Then by 2002 production went up to 3,400 tons That is around 18 times higher than 2001's unusually low figure of 185 tons, which followed the ban on cultivation imposed by the Taliban in the last year of their rule. I have to wonder what they were growing in lieu of opium to survive and I don't know about this but the increase is blamed on poverty-stricken farmers taking advantage of the power vacuum and it is not the fault of Kabul or the U.N. The BBC 2002
Every year since we attacked Afghanistan opium production has continued to climb. This year Production has increased again dramatically. It is no ones fault and no one knows how to control it. The 2007 report shows that In 2006, Afghanistan accounted for 92 percent of global illicit opium production, up from 70 percent in 2000 and 52 percent a decade earlier. The higher yields in Afghanistan brought global opium production to a record high of nearly 7,300 tons in 2007 a 43 percent increase over 2005.
The area under opium poppy cultivation in the country has also expanded, from nearly 257,000 acres in 2005 to more than 407,000 acres in 2006 — an increase of about 59 percent. "This is the largest area under opium poppy cultivation ever recorded in Afghanistan," the report said. UNODC (U.N. office of Drugs and crime) Executive Director Antonio Maria Costaz warned that Afghanistan's insurgency-plagued Helmand province was becoming the world's biggest drug supplier, with opium cultivation there larger than in the rest of the country put together.
She is right that controlling Poppy cultivation would go a long way towards bringing security to the Region. To me it would go a long way in defunding the Taliban but I haven't heard any real solution and to me, again if they were serious an answer is very obvious.
For the sixth straight year, the amount of land under opium cultivation has fallen in Southeast Asia. From 1998-2006, that region's share of world opium poppy cultivation has decreased from 67 percent to just 12 percent, largely due to declines in cultivation in Myanmar, the report said. Southeast Asia's total opium production in 2006 was just 370 tons, it said. Fox news 2007
All the while Afghanistan's production has grown exponentially and has more than replaced it. we cannot even control poppy cultivation let alone the Taliban. We cannot control cultivation so to me the obvious answer is to control the market. Buy all the poppy's produced and control what is done with them. It seems to me that we could find an al alternative use for it, keep the people employed, save lives and gain friends while undermining the Taliban. Doesn't this sound feasible? Why are we not doing something along this line?
All that aside we really should let the Taliban lead again and get the people to grow pomegranates as we explained years ago. Russia blames Nato for drug surge Well!
Afghanistan's poppy crop was essentially eradicated by the Taliban until Bush attacked them for not letting him put a pipeline through Afghanistan. As a result of the attack Afghanistan now is the worlds predominate grower and alone produces more than the entire world can consume! This made Bush the Taliban's premier money source!
Now this ancient land is telling the world that it has a trendy, new replacement for its dreaded poppy crop: sweet, juicy pomegranates. The country will stamp a logo on all boxes of the pomegranate for export: a drawing of the sliced, red fruit with seeds spilling out and a label that announces, "Anar, Afghan Pomegranate."
Anar is the word for pomegranate in various regional languages. Afghanistan officials hope the Western-style sales savvy will raise the pomegranate's cachet and provide its farmers with a lucrative alternative to growing opium poppies. It's the latest step in a $12 million, U.S.-funded initiative to modernize and expand Afghanistan's pomegranate industry, which has long depended on domestic sales and small-scale exports to nearby countries. Even these exports have been severely hit by years of border fighting.
Even though the Afghan pomegranate is considered one of the best in the world, it has been very much a local delicacy. The fruit is about the size of an apple, with a thick, reddish skin and hundreds of seeds embedded in tough, white pulp. This time of year, the red seed casings are consumed everywhere in Kabul — as juice, spooned straight from the fruit, or piled on a tray and sold by the scoop to picnickers in parks
Source of antioxidants: Pomegranates are riding a wave of popularity in Europe and the United States, where they are celebrated for their high levels of antioxidants, which protect cells from damage by compounds called free radicals. U.S. domestic supply comes largely from California's San Joaquin Valley, augmented by imports from Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, Greece and Mexico.
Four years ago now Afghanistan exported its first pomegranates to outlets of the French chain Carrefour in Dubai. The fruit, larger and redder than many pomegranates imported from Turkey or North Africa, was a hit. Carrefour quickly placed orders for all its Middle East stores, according to U.S. funders and Afghan officials."
They found out that Anar from Afghanistan is probably the best tasting. It's sweet; it's juicy," Afghanistan Agriculture Minister Mohammad Asif Rahimi said at the launch ceremony at a Kabul hotel Wednesday. Afghanistan's best export — agricultural or otherwise — is opium. It produced 8,200 tons of the drug in 2007, up 34 percent from the previous year. Though opium production is expected to drop back this year, Afghanistan will remain the world's largest producer of the crop by far. Hopefully Pomegranates will replace Opium Why not? Why are we not working towards this? We are our own worse frigging problem always and it is driving me crazy!