Investigation Into the Economic Effect of Opium Production on the Stability of Afghanistan (2020)

Opium Production in Afghanistan Economics Dissertation – Afghanistan remains one of the largest producers of illegal opium globally. Notably, it is a resilient crop that has withered the effects of harsh weather, Taliban edicts, persistent armed conflict, and subsequent international efforts to combat its production and distribution. In light of the aforementioned, this dissertation examines the effect of opium production on the economy and stability in Afghanistan form a historical and political economy perspective.

Subsequent to this analysis, this research finds that poppy is a significant ‘cash crop’ for Afghan economy at the macro and micro-levels. Also, it establishes that the dynamics of poppy economy have a limited contributing effect to the stability of Afghanistan given the growth in cultivation of the drug in the post-Taliban era. Against this background, the paper concludes that the challenge for the international community is to narrow the anti-narcotic efforts to lower the incentives for opium growth by introducing viable options with similar or near similar investments and returns.

The main argument in this study is that opium production has both beneficial and detrimental effects on the economy and socio-political stability of Afghanistan, but total eradication is not the solution. In this regard, the crop has had enabled local farmers to whither the harshness of war and changing climatic conditions. On the other hand, it has sustained armed conflicts since the Soviet invasion in 1978, Mujahedeen in the 1980’s, and even the Taliban in subsequent period. Moreover, it has weakened the central government authority who’s ineptitude or capacity challenges have historically encouraged its production.

Dissertation objectives

  • To explore effect of opium production on Afghanistan’s macro and micro economy?
  • To examine the implication of opium production on Afghanistan’s social and political stability
  • To establish the global and local challenges of tackling the challenge of opium production
  • To suggest viable economic alternative for tackling the problem of opium production

10,000 words – 42 pages in length
Excellent use of literature
Good analysis of subject area
Well written throughout
Ideal for economics and politics students

1 – Introduction
Research Question
Objective of the Study
Dissertation Objectives
Methods Used
Data Collection
Research Limitations
Ethical Implications
Dissertation Structure

2 – Literature Review
Theoretical Approach
Historical Perspective
Political Economy
Historical Perspective: Origin and Evolution of Opium Production in Afghanistan
Production under the British Empire
Opium Production from the Cold War to 2000
Opium Production in 2000 and Beyond
Political Economy of Opium Production in Afghanistan
Three Types of Economies Sustaining Opium Production
War Economy
Coping Economy
Shadow Economy

3 – Afghanistan Political History
1747-1978: Establishment of the State of Afghanistan
1979-1989: Russian Invasion and the Emergence of Mujahedeen
1990-2000: Taliban Rise, fall, and Comeback
Afghan Insurgence and Warlords

4 – Afghanistan’s Opium Production Role in State Formation and Stability
Motive and Agenda behind Opium Farming
Problem Zones
Trafficking Procedures

5 – Economic Aspect of Opium Production
Income from Opium Production
Income from Opium Trafficking

6 – The relationship between drug production and stability/corruption

7 – Replacing Opium Cultivation with the Saffron Industry
Saffron: The Soft Gold
Comparison between Saffron and Opium
Replacement Procedure of Opium with Saffron Cultivation
Needs Assessment
Advocacy and Public Awareness
Formation of Grower Associations
Capacity Building and Technology Transfer
Credit and Initial Support
Creation of Gradual Zero Poppy Zones
Issues and the Economic Effects

8 – Conclusion


Opium Production in Afghanistan Economics Dissertation
Opium Production on Economy Dissertation

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