World

Numbers on Declining Afghan Poppy Cultivation

The United Nations' annual report on Afghanistan's poppy cultivation shows that the opium flood that has gripped the country since 2001 may be slowly starting to wane.

18 Number of Afghan provinces that are now poppy-free, up from 13 in 2007. Support from local leaders has helped curb opium production in the northern and eastern provinces.

157 Thousands of hectares of opium cultivated in 2008, a 19 percent decrease from the record harvest of 193,000 in 2007. Drought contributed to this year's decline.

98 Percentage of the country's opium crop that is grown in just seven southwestern provinces, where the Taliban is still heavily entrenched and the central government is weaker.

3:1 Afghanistan's gross income ratio of opium to wheat per hectare in 2008. The 2007 ratio was 10:1, but rising global food prices have made wheat an attractive alternative crop.

A new study by the Centre for Economic Policy Research has found that since 1981, terrorist acts such as pipeline bombings have accounted for 25% of the fluctuations in the price of oil.

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