Opium poppy in Afghanistan: The determinants of cultivation

 
PIIS032150750012197-8-1
DOI10.31857/S032150750012197-8
Publication type Article
Status Published
Authors
Occupation: Post-graduate student, Lecturer, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University)
Affiliation: Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University)
Address: Moscow, Russia
Occupation: Leading Research Fellow, Center of Near and Middle Eastern Studies; Head, Department of Iranian Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Science; Associate Professor, Department of Global Economy, MGIMO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of th
Affiliation:
Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO)
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 11
Pages48-55
Abstract

In this article we examine increasing opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan since 2001. First, we discuss the historical background for the emergence and spread of opium production in Afghanistan in the 20th century and its current spatial distribution. Then we proceed with our statistical analysis. Our results show that the intensity of violent conflict (which we proxy by the number of military casualties in a calendar year) and the farm gate price of opium are positively correlated with the increase in opium cultivation. We find that a 1% increase in conflict intensity leads to 0,2% increase in the land under opium poppy cultivation the following season. Given the magnitude of the increase in the intensity of conflict in Afghanistan in 2010s these effects seem to be very significant. Our findings are in line with existing research on the topic. Higher conflict intensity and the expansion of the conflict zone may create conditions, where opium cultivation is a low-risk activity and may be preferable to the production of other agricultural goods, with southern regions of Afghanistan being particularly affected both by higher conflict intensity and opium production. However, we note that our analysis is constrained by data quality and availability and should be viewed as capturing some of the interconnection between the variables of our choice, but not strictly causal.

KeywordsAfghanistan, economy of Afghanistan, opium poppy, drug production
Received03.09.2020
Publication date24.11.2020
Number of characters23604
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