The latest United Nations Cannabis Survey Report reveals that, despite amped-up efforts to eradicate pot production in Afghanistan to prevent illicit profits being channeled to the remnants of the Taliban, cannabis resin production is on the rise. Afghan farmers yielded 1,400 tons of commercial cannabis resin in 2012 – a larger amount than produced the previous year despite a nearly twenty percent reduction in Afghanistan’s pot farmland.
However, due to black market price fluctuations, the 2012 crop was "only" worth $65 million compared to almost $100 million generated by the slightly smaller 2011 harvest.
In the province of Uruzgan, pot production was reduced more than tenfold in just one year – from over 1,000 hectares in 2011 to under 100 last year – with the eradication of plants there also serving to eliminate a potential "hiding space" for political rebels, according to the UN findings.
However, pot planting in other regions of Afghanistan remained on par with the previous year, with slightly over half of the nation's weed being grown in southern Afghanistan.
The UN report also noted many opium farmers are opting to cultivate cannabis during the summer season, resulting in contraband crop rotation. Afghanistan's growing importance as a supplier of resin is projected to motivate more farmers to produce pot during opium's off-season when it's ideal to cultivate cannabis. Increased efforts to eradicate poppy farming could also encourage Afghan farmers to grow more ganja.