Afghanistan Opium Prices
Afghanistan emerged as a major source of illicit opium in the mid-1980s, which made the opium trade the largest source of income in Afghanistan. Throughout the 1990s, Afghanistan produced increasing quantities of illicit opium, and by 2005 remained the source of approximately 92 percent of the global illicit opium supply.
UNODC collects monthly opium prices from 15 key provinces. ORA 2009 also collected price information from 484 surveyed villages. ORA 2009 reports that since June 2007, prices of dry opium in the Western and Eastern Regions remain higher than the prices in other regions. An increase in prices in the Western Region can be attributed to its strategic position in bordering Iran.
ORA 2009 reported a decrease in prices over the last few months in Southern and Northern region Afghanistan. The following factor can explain lower prices in Southern region: availability of opium stocks for farmers and drug dealers, a result of bumper opium production in 2007 and 2008.Fresh opium prices at farm gate level were well above USD 100/kg until early 2007. Prices decreased drastically by 2008 where the average price in November was USD 55/kg, the lowest price ever recorded since UNODC started opium price monitoring. Fresh opium prices in 2006 were almost double that of the prices recorded in 2008. A similar trend can be observed for price of fresh opium at the trader level. The trend of converging opium prices across regions within Afghanistan could be an indication of greater integration among the local markets.
Farmers in Afghanistan usually cultivate crops twice a year in irrigated areas, typically growing maize, rice, vegetables or cotton after harvesting opium poppy or wheat. Some farmers grow cannabis after the first summer harvest. None of Afghanistan's licit agricultural products have been able to match the income per hectare from opium poppy. Nevertheless difference between prices of licit and illicit products has narrowed down since 2008.
A comparison of prices in USD per kg, collected during ORA 2008 and ORA 2009 shows significant decrease in prices of opium and substantial increase in prices of food grains: dry opium 85.16 (2009) 112.87 (2008), fresh opium 61.74 (2009) 80.44 (2008), wheat 0.60 (2009) 0.40 (2008), rice 1.12 (2009) 0.89 (2008), maize 0.42 (2009), 0.28 (2008).
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