A farmer stands in a opium poppy field in the Pashtun tribal zone, a border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, in April 2004.
According to a UNODC report released on Monday, Afghanistan farmers are growing 477,000 acres (193,000 hectares) of opium poppies, a 17 percent increase from 408,000 acres (165,000 hectares) recorded in 2006.
The southern province of Helmand alone—with 253,944 acres (102,770 hectares) under cultivation—accounts for more than half of the national total, the news agency Reuters reported.
"Except for China 100 years ago, no other country in the world has ever had such a large amount of farmland used for illegal activity," Antonio Maria Costa of UNODC told Reuters in Kabul.
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