With the organisational capacity and resources necessary to add value to other agricultural products, the Poppy for Medicine
project model would provide Afghan farming communities with significant opportunities for economic diversification.
Afghan medicine production factories: multipurpose tools for economic diversification
The model factory outlined in Appendix I
would have the capacity to process up to twenty metric tons of raw poppy materials into morphine each year. However, as an additional security measure for the Poppy for Medicine
projects, it is likely that the actual quantity of raw poppy materials processed into morphine each year would be significantly less than twenty tons. Limiting the quantity of raw materials to be processed, would allow the morphine processing time to be concentrated into the weeks immediately following the spring poppy harvest, thereby minimising the period of exposure in which the raw and semi-processed poppy materials could be diverted. The time required to process into morphine three metric tons, the quantity of raw materials that ten individual project communities could produce, would amount to just eight weeks (May-July).
Making best use of medicine processing factory capacity
As such, under the Poppy for Medicine
project model, the manufacture of morphine medicines will only occupy less than a quarter of a factory’s operational time each year, leaving the factories available to add value to other agricultural products cultivated in the region throughout the rest of the year. Initial research suggests that it is possible to extend the Poppy for Medicine
project model, and the medicine factory, to produce other plant-based medicines suited to the Afghan context.
This Economic Case Study investigates the possibility of producing Artemisinin, the active pharmaceutical ingredient in much-needed new malaria medicines, using the Poppy for Medicine
project model. As with the local production of morphine
, a model scenario is presented to shed light on the potential economic impact that the production of additional medicinal products would have on the communities and regions within which Poppy for Medicine
projects would be implemented.