Case Studies: India & Turkey

India’s experiences in licensing poppy cultivation for the production of essential medicines

Lessons for Afghanistan by Romesh Bhattacharji, former narcotics commissioner of India
June 2007

Important lessons from the experiences of Indian farmers, administrators and security experts could inform the implementation of a Poppy for Medicine project in Afghanistan. The role played by the Indian farming villages, and in particular the role played by the village headman, in controlling poppy cultivation and limiting diversion in licensed poppy cultivation projects has empowered a variety of stakeholders. This lesson is particularly relevant with regards to the social control hierarchies present in Afghan rural societies.
Full report (220 kb, pdf)


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Political history of the poppy licensing in Turkey.

The Senlis Council
May 2006

Turkey’s successful transition from a culture of widespread, unregulated poppy cultivation to a licensed, controlled system of poppy cultivation for the production of medicines provides an interesting model for Afghanistan.

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Analogous to the current situation in Afghanistan, in the 1960s Turkey was one of the world’s main opium producing countries. After several years of tense negotiations, political pragmatism prevailed, resulting in Turkey switching from unregulated crop growing to licensed poppy cultivation for the production of medicines. The Turkish political dynamic was such that poppy farmers’ interests were key to the stability of the country. When Turkey deemed total eradication both technically and socially impracticable, the US and the Turkish Governments worked together to implement a poppy licensing system for the production of opium-based medicines, as an alternative means of bringing poppy cultivation under control. Turkey was then able to resume poppy cultivation, under a strict licensing system supported by the United Nations and a preferential trade agreement with the US.
Full report (260 Ko, pdf)