Rise in opium prices encouraging poppy cultivation
BARA: A huge hike in opium prices has been recorded over the past month in drug markets throughout tribal areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan, encouraging people in the tribal region to invest in poppy cultivation.
Opium rates have increased from the usual price of Rs 12,000 per kilogramme to Rs 18,000 per kilogramme.
Taj Malook, a drug dealer in Bara, told Daily Times that people started large-scale cultivation of poppy in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which led to a fall in prices, but they climbed back up when US and the Afghan forces raided heroin factories in Afghanistan’s south-eastern provinces. In addition, the sale of poppy seeds in open markets had been banned, he said.
A tribesman who asked not to be named said he had bought 100 kilogrammes of opium at Rs 12,000 per kilogramme and would sell it when rates hit Rs 30,000. “Opium produced in Pakistan’s tribal areas is considered better than that produced in Afghanistan,” another opium dealer, Muhammad Shinwari, explained why addicts preferred Pakistani opium. He said 90 percent of opium was used in producing heroin and the rest was used in medicines.
A tribesman said a kilogramme of heroin cost Rs 100,000 in FATA and Afghanistan, but was worth Rs 10 million in Europe and about Rs 4 to 5 million in the Middle East.