Global Food Crisis Hits Afghanistan with an Ironic Twist: The end of Smack?

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A quote from The Guardian about implications of the global food crisis, caused by deforestation, bio-fuels and climate chaos and, of course, general greed, in the remote corners of Afghanistan:

Haji Dawood, a farmer who used to cultivate poppy but now farms wheat in the Daman district, near Kandahar in the south, said his family had benefited from the wheat boom. “It’s the first time since I planted wheat that I can afford to feed my family … it’s going well because the price of opium has come down, and the price for my wheat has gone up. Each new season we get more money from the crop than from the previous one,” he said.

Why do hospitals world wide and addiction treatment facilities not procure fairly traded opium as a development model? Even the Econofascist editor Frances Cairncross thought the idea merited some attention, when she was asked just that in a forum some years ago. See also this position.

In any case“, commented Luther Blisset in the usual fashion, “this puts the exploitation of opium farmers into perspective, since last time I checked toast bread was significantly cheaper than heroin..

Given that Bayer et al are laughing all the way to the bank in the middle of the end of the world, or whatever the recent events (from Katrina to Myanmar, from Tsunami to the Amazon Desert) signify, it could be said that we’ve come full circle:

From 1898 through to 1910 heroin was marketed as a non-addictive morphine substitute and cough medicine for children. Bayer marketed heroin as a cure for morphine addiction before it was discovered that heroin is converted to morphine when metabolized in the liver, and as such, “heroin” was basically only a quicker acting form of morphine. The company was somewhat embarrassed by this new finding and it became a historical blunder for Bayer.

See also:


4 thoughts on “Global Food Crisis Hits Afghanistan with an Ironic Twist: The end of Smack?

    colono responded:
    Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 04:26 (226)
    terrimodo said:
    Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 06:32 (314)

    Thanks for the optimism – after doing my blog today it was welcome

    colono responded:
    Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:57 (581)

    Like my mate said – you couldn’t make this shit up:

    The British Army is in Afghanistan to kill opium production (or was it producers?) and meanwhile they have to massively scaling up their own homegrown opium (in Southern England) production, since there is a critical shortage of opium for medicinal purposes available on the world market.

    Capitalism is just such beautiful murder!

    colono responded:
    Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 13:00 (584)

    See the DailyHateMail:

    In Afghanistan, British troops are fighting a ferocious and often lethal war to eradicate the country’s opium poppy crop.

    Yet, as our soldiers risk their lives daily, large swathes of the English countryside are being turned over to the very same crop – with the full backing of the Government.

    Farmers are cultivating the poppies to combat a critical shortage of morphine in NHS hospitals, and are finding it a lucrative crop.

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