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China’s Genetically Engineered Opium Seeds Pumped up Afghan Drug Growth

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the opium output in Afghanistan is growing. Since 2015 Chinese genetically engineered opium seeds have been showing up in Afghanistan. The new seeds not only offer early maturity; they also allow year-round growing. This resulted in a major annual growth rate of 43 percent in 2016 across Afghanistan. According to statistics that the Afghan government released, opium output is showing rapid growth, which is in line with the findings that the the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNOCD) report published in 2016. The UN report showed that the growth was mainly the result of the new Chinese seeds and the shortening of the harvesting cycle from three months to two. They also extended the six-month growing season to the full year. Some Afghanistan farmers said some people handed them the seeds and promised to come back and buy the opium. They also provided funding as well as fertilizers. The Afghan government revealed that a large amount of the opium was sold to Russia and Pakistan. Europe and the United States were also major markets. The UN estimated the Afghanistan opium export volume to be US$4 billion in 2007. Now it should be much higher.

Source: Sina, March 27, 2017