The 2008 edition of this yearly United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report states,
"The total opium cultivation in 2008 in Afghanistan is estimated at 157,000 hectares (ha), a
19% reduction compared to 2007. Unlike previous years, 98% of the total cultivation is
confined to seven provinces with security problems: five of these provinces are in the south
and two in the west of Afghanistan.
Of the 34 provinces in the country, 18 were poppy free in 2008 compared to 13 in 2007. This
includes the eastern province of Nangarhar, which was the number two cultivator in 2007 and
now is free from poppy cultivation. At the district level, 297 of Afghanistan’s 398 districts
were poppy free in 2008. Only a tiny portion of the total cultivation took place in the north
(Baghlan and Faryab), north-east (Badakhshan) and east (Kunar, Laghman and Kapisa).
Together these regions counted for less than two per cent of cultivation. The seven southern
and western provinces that contributed to 98% of Afghan opium cultivation and production
are Hilmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Daykundi, Zabul, Farah and Nimroz. This clearly
highlights the strong link between opium cultivation and the lack of security.
The total opium production in 2008 is estimated at 7,700 metric tons (mt), a 6% reduction
compared to production in 2007. Almost all of the production (98%) takes place in the same
seven provinces where the cultivation is concentrated and where the yield per hectare was
relatively higher than in the rest of the country. All the other provinces contributed only 2%
of total opium production in the country.
The gross income for farmers who cultivated opium poppy is estimated at US$ 732 million in
2008. This is a decrease from 2007, when farm-gate income for opium was estimated at US$