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Call for Afghan poppy farmers to be paid for -

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PETER CAVE: US efforts to eradicate the vast fields of poppy flowers in Afghanistan are proving
futile. However, in a radical proposal, an international policy think-tank says a better way to
control the production of opiates in Afghanistan is to encourage the poppy farmers to turn their
crops into much needed medicines.

The head of Policy Research at the Senlis Council, Jorrit Kamminga, told Simon Lauder he's not
surprised that Afghan heroin is re-emerging as a major problem in Australia.

JORRIT KAMMINGA: It's a huge problem. It's for ... currently for about four million farming families,
it's the only crop, the only way for them to make a living. And obviously with the limited projects
of alternative livelihoods that we see at the moment, we can't provide these farmers, these farming
communities with enough alternatives.

SIMON LAUDER: Is much known about where it's being processed and turned into heroin?

JORRIT KAMMINGA: Well, it used to be processed mainly outside of Afghanistan, for example in
Pakistan or even further down the lines to the Russian Federation and to Europe, for example in
Turkey and Bulgaria. You see more and more processing facilities in Afghanistan.

SIMON LAUDER: How can this go on in the presence of large numbers of Western troops?

JORRIT KAMMINGA: It's very strange that now we have been on the ground, the international
community, obviously not only with the military but also with our aid efforts and our
reconstruction efforts, we've been on the ground for more than seven years now, and it's indeed
surprising that over the past two years opium production has doubled.

It means that the counter-narcotics policy should be completely overhauled. The current way of
addressing the poppy problem in Afghanistan is completely counter-productive and, as we see, even
in terms of mere drug control objectives, we see that it's completely going the wrong way - more
production and more cultivation instead of less.

SIMON LAUDER: And the Senlis Council believes that the farmers should be paid in an official sense
for the production of medicines?

JORRIT KAMMINGA: Yeah indeed. We need to really kick-start the local economy and you can do that by
using the same crop that's already there. What we really believe in is a system at the local level,
of local production of morphine, and it's very important to do that locally because that's the only
way that you can ensure a very high market price and you ensure that a lot of the money stays in
these rural areas.

PETER CAVE: The head of Policy Research at the Senlis Council, Jorrit Kamminga, speaking to Simon