LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): A number of farmers who previously sowed wheat and corn crops have cultivated poppy plant in their fields in southern Helmand province this year.
Abdul Bari, a farmer in Nad Ali district, told Pajhwok Afghan News that he cultivated different crops last year, but none had good income.
He said, “I cultivated wheat, corn and groundnut last year which had no good income but this year I cultivated poppy and I expect a good income from it.”
He said a large number of farmers had cultivated poppy in their fields in areas under government’s control and were expecting reasonable outcome.
Hikmatullah, another grower in the same district, said he along with his father had cultivated poppy in their fields.
He said, “I don’t study school and only work in poppy fields and I have now enough experience in poppy cultivation.”
Mohammad Tahir, another farmer in Marja district, said they have been living under Taliban-controlled areas and most of people around them cultivated poppy this year.
He said, “Poppy has good price under militants controlled areas so people mostly cultivate poppy in such areas.”
According to his information, one kilogram of poppy could be accounted for more than 5,000 afghanis.
A number of other farmers held similar views and said poppy has been cultivated in most of areas.
An official at the counternarcotics department also confirmed poppy has been cultivated in most areas of Helmand.
He said 136,798 hectors of land was used for poppy growing in 2018 and 144,018 hectors in 2017 in the province.
Governor Mohammad Yasin told Pajhwok that Taliban militants for their weapons and other need supported poppy cultivation in areas under their control.
He added poppy was cultivated in a very less number of areas under government control.
The Taliban have not yet commented in this regard but earlier they had said the ongoing conflict had badly hit people’s economy, therefore the rebels did not ban the illicit plant.