By UNODC and Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Ministry of Counter Narcotics. This report revealed that opium poppy farmers gained considerably less in 2015 compared to the previous year. Figures in the analysis show that the gross income from opium decreased to $3100 per hectare in 2015 – 18 per cent less than the 2014 value of $3800 – and the lowest level since 2002, shortly after the end of the Taliban opium ban.
The analysis suggests that four moderate to poor harvests in a row in the main opium poppy growing areas, together with moderate prices, may have made less profitable to invest in new land and to keep high-maintenance fields with expensive irrigation systems. Moreover, opium yields have decreased possibly due to lower land productivity and disease. This is illustrated by the 38 per cent of farmers who have discontinued cultivation in 2015 and who have named agronomic and ecological conditions – such as poppy pests, diseases and bad yields – as reasons for their decision, suggesting that poppy is not such a highly profitable cash crop anymore.