Survey shows drop in Afghanistan opium poppy cultivation this year, weather a major factor

A new survey reports a drop in opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan this year, which comes after six years of increases.

The UN and Afghan government joint survey released Wednesday shows a 19 percent decrease in cultivation to 183,000 hectares (452,200 acres), down from 224,000 hectares (553,500 acres) last year.

The report's authors say unfavorable weather conditions are a major reason for the drop. They also point out that there was a change in methodology used to estimate areas of poppy cultivation, and while there was certainly a decrease, the percentage may not be exact.

Due to the lower levels of cultivation, there was also a 48 percent reduction in the potential production of opium this year.