FAIZABAD - Counternarcotics Minister on Saturday said poppy crops grown over about 1,279 hectares of land in two districts of northeastern Badakhshan province were yet to be eradicated.
Zrar Ahmad Muqbil, during a visit to the mountainous province, told local officials that 617 hectares of land was cultivated with poppy crops in Argu and 662 hectares in Drayem districts.
Muqbil said his visit to Badakhshan was aimed at accelerating efforts at eradicating poppy crops. He asked administrative chiefs of the two districts to utilise all their resources at making a success the ongoing poppy eradication drive, which was launched a month back.
According to regional office head the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), Mohammad Hussain Jalili, a survey conducted by the office showed about a 50 percent increase in poppy cultivation in Badakhshan, compared to last year.
Jalili said farmers in Badakhshan cultivated 1,374 hectares of land with poppy crops this year. Since the start of the autumn campaign a month back, poppy crops gown over as many as 374 hectares of land had so far been eradicated.
A member of the anti-drug and intoxication commission of the ""'Wolesi Jirga, Shah Abdul Ahad Afzali , cited insecurity and poverty as main reasons behind the increasing poppy growth. A major part of the income generated from the drug trade ended up in the hands of drug traffickers instead of farmers, he said.
Badakhshan Governor Shah Waliullah Adib said an effectively fight against the poppy cultivation needed cooperation of regional countries, farmers and government officials.
A farmer from Yaftal-i-Payan area, Mohammad Amir, told Pajhwok Afghan News they had not been provided with any assistance by the government in last two years. He said they suffered from a prolonged dry spell, but the government did not help.
"The government is aware of our problems, but it does not take any steps, so we are compelled to cultivate poppy in our fields because our families need food," he said.