Bumper opium harvest in Rajasthan this year
After a poor opium season last year (2015-16), the state has witnessed a bumper harvest this year.
The Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) has procured around 266.12 tonnes of opium from growers in seven districts in its month-long opium procurement drive conducted in April. Last year, the CBN had collected around 26.62 tonnes.
This is the best opium harvest in last five years and 10 times jump from last year.
Opium — cultivated in around 4170 hectares this year —is cultivated in Kota, Baran, Jhalawar, Chittorgarh, Pratapgarh, Udaipur and Bhilwara districts.
Farmers are issued opium cultivation licences in September and the CBN procures the opium in April after its harvest in March.
“Opium was procured from 25,373 cultivators in over 1,500 villages. Farmers were paid ₹42.67 crore for the opium,” said Sahi Ram Meena, deputy narcotics commissioner, CBN, Rajasthan.
“The opium procured from growers in Rajasthan this year is the highest in the last five years. The highest opium production in recent years was 366.63 tonnes in 2011-12,” he said.
Giving reasons for the high production this year, Meena said that good weather and an addition of 11,000 opium cultivators led to a bumper production this year. “A warm winter had spoiled the opium crop last year. But this year the winter temperatures were right for a high quality and quantity of opium,” he said.
RK Meena, inspector, opium section, CBN, said that the procured in 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 were around 167 tonnes, 158 tonnes and 176 tonnes respectively.
The average opium yield is around 63.80 kg/ hectare this year which was 57.32 kg/hectare last year.