KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): The price of opium has hit an all-time high after the Taliban banned poppy cultivation across the country.
Earlier, the Taliban’s supreme leader issued a decree banning poppy cultivation and trade in other narcotics substances all over the country.
Violators of the decree would be punished in line with the Sharia law and the illicit crop eradicated, the decree warned.
Mohammad Wali, a farmer from the Zherai district of Kandahar, has started harvesting his poppy crops.
After the issuance of the decree outlawing poppy cultivation, the grower said he had faced no problem and was that he was busy collecting the yield.
In the past, Wali recalled, opium was purchased and sold openly. “But now people do this behind the scenes.”
He reiterated: “So far, nobody has stopped us. Farmers are collecting the yield. In the future, we may not cultivate poppies.”
Wali said farmers were thrilled by the increasing opium price. However, he was disappointed by the restrictions clamped down on poppy cultivation.
Soon after the ban was announced, the poppy rate skyrocketed. But now it has dropped again to some extent.
The price of one kilogram of opium surged to 25,000 rupees. But now it has fallen back to Rs20,000-18,000.
Mustafa, a grower from Arghandab district, claimed poppies had been cultivated on large swaths of land this year. But in some parts of the province, the crop has been damaged by water shortages.
He was happy with the ban on poppy cultivation, hoping the measure would lead to a spike in the opium price.
Mohammad Nabi, a businessman from Maiwand district, said in the past 4.5 kilograms of opium accounted for 30,000 to 35,000 afs. But now the same quantity costs 115,000 afs to 120,000 afs.
He said the poppy harvest had started in most parts of Kandahar. The price might soar once the harvest process was over, he believed.
Despite several attempts, Kandahar Agriculture Department officials could not be reached for comments.