More than 50 members of the Missouri National Guard are hoping to create alternatives for Afghan farmers to growing opium poppies.
Friday, September 21, 2007 | 5:16 p.m. CDT;
updated 5:35 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008
Afghan farmers have produced 193,000 hectares of opium poppies in 2007. Except for 19th-century China, whose population was 15 times larger than that of present-day Afghanistan, no other country has produced as much narcotics.
The world’s largest producer of opium expanded poppy production by nearly 60 percent last year and generated about $3 billion of illicit economic activity in Afghanistan.
The Missouri National Guard wants to change that by ending Afghan farmers’ dependence on the poppy crop and transforming legal agriculture into a profitable alternative.
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