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UN Says Opium Production Increases In Afghanistan

A farmer checks poppy fields in Kandahar, Afghanistan
A new United Nations report says opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan increased by seven percent this year.

The 2011 Afghan Opium Survey says the main factors in the rise were continued insecurity in the country, together with higher prices for the drug.

In contrast, last year's survey showed a big decline in production levels due to a disease in the opium plant.

Afghanistan is the world's biggest producer of opium, from which heroin is derived.

The UN says opium production makes up nine percent of Afghanistan's gross domestic product.

That figure does not include manufacturing and trafficking profits, which are said to fuel corruption and funding of insurgent groups.

compiled from agency reports