Replacing Afghan Poppies with Pomegranates

Replacing Afghan Poppies with Pomegranates

Food & Drink

Replacing Afghan Poppies with Pomegranates

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By Cari Martens

An ambitious project initiated by James Brett, founder of Pomegreat, the UK’s leading brand of pomegranate juice, seeks to replace poppy plantations in war-torn Afghanistan with pomegranate orchards.

If successful, the program could wipe out much of the world’s opium production; about 90 percent is currently sourced from the Afghan poppy crop.

Known as POM354, the program received a major boost recently when UK retailer Waitrose began stocking a pomegranate drink called Alibi, a UK start-up that became the first company to sign on with the program.

Alibi is a canned beverage that calls itself “the world’s first and only detox drink.” It’s a blend of fruit juice, herbal extracts and amino acids. A portion of the proceeds from sales of Alibi goes to POM354, which also has the support of the fledgling Afghan government.

Quoted in an article appearing “Nutraingredients.com”:http://www.nutraingredients.com/Industry/The-promise-of-Afghan-pomegranates/?c=QjlPrzB7cnLt9WaBpGL8Eg%3D%3D&utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%2BDaily, Brett said ‘This project has the potential to put a serious dent in the global heroin trade and is an economically viable source of a fruit whose popularity is surging.’

Currently there are about 40,000 pomegranate trees planted, but half a million more trees are scheduled to be planted in provinces throughout Afghanistan by the end of next year.

According to U.N. and Afghan government figures, farmers can earn more than twice the amount per acre growing pomegranates as they can with poppies.

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