Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Drive to eliminate poppy in Helmand begins - Frontier Post

Eradication process of poppy crop in surrounding areas of provincial capital Lashkargah of restive southern Helmand province was commenced on Monday.

The campaign started from Bolan area of Lashkargah where people had cultivated poppy on a state-owned land. Helmand governor Mohammad Gulab Mangal told Pajhwok Afghan News the campaign would be extended to surrounding areas of Lashkargah, adding that the process would last for a month.

He said that it was expected that the crop cultivated over 5000 hectare of land would be destroyed during that period. He said 60 tractors were involved in the process and 200 policemen would maintain security during the eradication process.

All the land will thoroughly be freed from poppy crop and no compromise will be made in this connection," Mangal vowed.

Although, the governor has hinted at providing assistance to the growers as an alternative source of income, but Lalay, a farmer told this news agency that they have received nothing as yet. "The government must provide us alternate source of income as we would confront with economic hardships after our crop is destroyed," he said.

The governor claimed that roughly 1500 hectare of land had been freed fromn poppy crop. Last year, Helmand province topped the list of poppy growing provinces.

  1. A survey conducted by the UN last year revealed that almost 165 thousands hectare of land was brought under poppy crop cultivation in Afghanistan, with 1000 hectare in Helmand alone.

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