BritishForcesNews: Poppy cultivation drops in Helmand as beekeeping booms
Afghan officials say that opium poppy cultivation in Helmand Province may have dropped by 15 per cent this year. The success is partly due to British-backed programmes that are trying to introduce farmers to alternative sources of income like fruit growing and fish farming. The latest project which is Anglo-American funded has revived beekeeping in the Helmand town of Gereshk encouraging local farmers to boost their incomes with beekeeping. At the Gereshk Agricultural College students have been learning how to produce honey themselves. It's said to be a sought after product in Afghanistan where it's used to sweeten tea and as a remedy. Combined with other activities like fish and fruit farming it's believed that beekeeping could prove more lucrative than growing opium poppies. There are now 17 hives at the Gereshk Agricultural College. The aim is to increase the number to 75 and start a cooperative to sell honey, if all goes to plan that should happen within the next year.