Biodiesel from Poppies An Alternative Strategy to Combating the Opium Trade in Afghanistan
Wheatley, Omar J.
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"Despite efforts to eliminate cultivation, it appears that poppies will continue to remain a major crop for Afghanistan. This article focuses on an alternative use of poppy to address the second pillar, specifically examining the feasibility of using non-opium producing poppy as an economic alternative for Afghanistan. There are several licit uses for poppy-based consumables, primarily for medical based opiates such as morphine and codeine. While poppies are also used for their seeds in food products, there is an increasing interest in poppy oil which itself has multiple potential uses, one of which is as a biofuel. The poppy plant is a very rugged plant, requiring very little water compared to food-based biofuels such as corn, rapeseed, palm, and soy. Poppies are a proven crop in Afghanistan. In recent years, a genetically modified poppy variant has been created that contains no opium or the alkaloids necessary for the production of medicinal opiates. If there are varieties that provide the benefits as a biofuel or even for food without the inherent alkaloids that are necessary to produce opium, could they not be considered an alternative economic resource for Afghanistan?"
This article was published in Culture and Conflict Review (Fall 2011), v.5 no.3
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