According to the United Nations, Afghanistan is the world’s biggest supplier of cannabis.
90 percent of the world’s opium supply was produced by Afghanistan in 2007, according to the UN.
In early 2008, the Taliban was earning $100 Million in drug trafficking revenue by taxing opium farmers in Afghanistan.
In an article about the drug eradication program in The New Yorker, writer Jon Lee Anderson reported on the price difference for farmers harvesting opium. According to interviews with local Afghan farmers, a farmer is able to receive “about thirty-three dollars from an acre of wheat, and between five hundred and seven hundred dollars from an acre of poppies.”
A worker harvesting opium in Afghanistan is able to earn $12 a day, compared to $2 a day for harvesting wheat. Reporter Elizabeth Rubin, writing for the New York Times Magazine, reported that certain schools in Afghanistan are closed in part “because teachers and students were busy harvesting the crop”.
The United Nations reported that in 2007, the opium harvest in Afghanistan rose 38 percent over the previous year. 8,200 metric tons of opium was harvested in 2007, up from 6,100 tons in 2006.
The black market opium trade represents approximately one-third of Afghanistan’s GDP, according to the 2007 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.