Afghanistan is world’s largest hashish producer, says UN

March 31st, 2010 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Vienna, March 31 (DPA) Afghanistan is not only the world leader in opium production, but also the biggest maker of hashish, according to a report that the UN drug agency published Wednesday in Vienna.”All drugs in Afghanistan, whether opium or cannabis, are taxed by those who control the territory, providing an additional source of revenue for insurgents,” said Antonio Maria Costa, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The UN body estimated the annual output of the hashish resin, which is made from cannabis, at between 1,500 and 3,500 tonnes, with a total value of up to $94 million.

Cannabis is grown on less land in Afghanistan than in major supplier countries such as Morocco, according to the UNODC’s first Afghan cannabis survey.

However, the higher yield of Afghan cannabis, with 145 kg hashish per hectare, makes the country the biggest producer.

In Morocco, the herb yields only around 40 kilograms of the resin per hectare.

For Afghan farmers, cultivating the plant is lucrative, as it is much cheaper to harvest than opium.

However, farmers still favour opium, because cannabis has a shorter shelf life and needs to be irrigated with water, since it is a summer crop.

The UNODC estimates that cannabis is grown on 10,000 to 24,000 hectares, compared to Morocco’s cultivation area of below 60,000 hectares.

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