‘New seed in town’: GM poppies from China exacerbate Afghanistan’s opium problem

| | March 28, 2017
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Click image for larger version. Source Kevin Folta
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

A problem that Afghanistan and international governments have tried to eradicate for decades is only getting worse, and China is a big reason why.

Afghanistan released new data showing opium production is surging, information that dovetailed with a widely circulated 2016 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report that showed similar findings. The primary problem is a new strain of genetically modified seed that comes from China, which allows poppies to be grown year round. The so-called Chinese seeds began appearing in 2015, according to the UNODC, leading to a massive 43 percent surge in production last year.

According to separate data from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, the growth cycle of opium in Afghanistan is now around two months, when it used to take three times as long to grow the crop and process it into heroin.

“We are aware of the new seed in town,” Afghan government spokesperson Javid Faisal told CNBC in an interview. The war-torn country is working to gather more information about the new opium seed, and the government is in “search to find ways to avoid its traffic,” Faisal added.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Afghanistan’s relentless opium woes have a ‘new seed in town,’ and it comes from China

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