Marketplace helps you stay financially responsible all year, now we need YOUR help to keep our budget on track.
Donate NOW to help us hit our target of 2,500 Marketplace Investors by June 30!
Thomas Pietschmann, co-author of the U.N. report, says it is meant as a warning that the world is sitting on vast amounts of opium, not all of which has reached drug users.
That opium could make its way to the streets of Europe, Russia and Southeast Asia over the next few years and increase the number of deaths related to opium and heroin, which is also derived from the opium poppy plant.
The main reason for the increased opium yield is instability in Afghanistan, where Taliban militants are pressuring farmers to grow the plant.
“Taliban has used it to fuel many of its activities. It’s one of its main sources of revenue,” says Michael Kugelman, senior program associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.
“Farmers in Afghanistan … are pressured, intimidated and threatened by violence … if they don’t keep up with poppy production,” Kugelman says.
With most foreign troops now out of Afghanistan, especially since the end of 2014, and instability growing, farmers are also increasingly planting opium poppies for their own economic survival.
It is a practice they have employed for decades, despite $8 billion in efforts by the U.S. to reduce opium cultivation. Pietschmann says those efforts in Afghanistan worked, at first, by convincing farmers to plant other crops. Some farmers switched after being shown that they could still make money planting other crops.
“It’s a really market-driven approach, but at the same time, really helping and assisting the farmers to change their mindset,” Pietschmann says.
But, he says, that approach needs stability, which is something Afghanistan currently lacks.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.