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High and Dry: Poppy cultivation and the future of those that reside in the former desert areas of South West Afghanistan

The deserts of southwestern Afghanistan have been transformed. Land that was once dry and strewn with rocks, has been cleared, irrigated, and planted with crops by an influx of new settlers. The pace of the settlement of the former desert Read More

STIRRING UP THE HORNET’S NEST: How the Population of Rural Helmand view the current Counterinsurgency Campaign

Stirring Up the Hornet’s Nest, is critical to our understanding of the impact of opium poppy production in Afghanistan. The findings shared in this paper can bring much needed insight to development workers, civil society, and the Afghan government on Read More

An Afghan Think-Tank Study Finds that Southwest Bare Land has Become Home to Up to 2.2 Million People

“What is more, this frontier area is located beyond the reaches of the Helmand and Farah rivers and the canal system that the Afghan state built to increase the taxable agricultural area,” the report says and adds, “Yet in 2016 Read More

STILL WATER RUNS DEEP: Illicit Poppy and the Transformation of the Deserts of Southwest Afghanistan

The physical and political geography of the deserts of southwest Afghanistan have gone through dramatic change over the last two decades. Located on the periphery of irrigated lands settled by the Afghan state in the 1950s and 1960s, this area Read More

DISEASE OR SYMPTOM? AFGHANISTAN’S BURGEONING OPIUM ECONOMY IN 2017

Regardless of the balance of costs and benefits, the opium economy is far from the “disease” at the heart of the story in Afghanistan, and must not be seen as the cause of the country’s problems. It is rather much Read More

Truly Unprecedented: How the Helmand Food Zone supported an increase in the province’s capacity to produce opium

The goal of the Helmand Food Zone (HFZ) was to bring about a rapid and significant reduction in opium poppy cultivation. It was funded directly by the UK and US governments to the tune of between US$12 and $18 million Read More

Stakeholder perceptions of agriculture and nutrition policies and practice: A policy brief for Afghanistan

While there are multiple causes of malnutrition, undernutrition and lack of dietary diversity point to micronutrient deficiencies rather than generalised food insecurity. A crucial policy question is: what are the pathways and incentives needed to ensure that agriculture can have Read More

Understanding Control and Influence: What Opium Poppy and Tax Reveal about the Writ of the Afghan State

There are a number of organisations that have sought to map government control in Afghanistan.1 However, given the frequency it is cited in the media and official reports, this paper offers a critique of the current way that North Atlantic Read More

Water Sector Reforms and Agricultural Productivity in Afghanistan

The implementation of the IWRM guided reforms agenda remained mostly on paper. It has not been completed in any of the river basins. The implementation has remained very slow and the agenda has been put into practice on a small Read More

The Impacts of Water Sector Reforms on Agricultural Productivity in Afghanistan

In 2009, Afghanistan enacted its Water Law based on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) principles and aimed at making agriculture a more dynamic driver of the national economy. Though the sector has huge potential for contributing to sustainable development, its Read More