The international Mexico Opium Network recently launched a study on the socio-political challenges posed by illicit poppy crops in Mexico.
The study will focus on five things: the Mexican opium economy and the evolution of law enforcement policies; designing a rural development strategy; generating an evidence-based debate at the national and international level; engaging with key civil decision-makers within national and international forums; and offering alternatives to rural development, drug policy, and public security strategies.
The network also seeks to understand the economic weight of opium in Mexico, how illicit activities are regulated, and how many farmers work and live from opium poppy production.
“The poppy economy is crucial to some of the Mexico’s most marginalized rural regions, despite its illegality and constant efforts at eradication,” Rafael Fernández de Castro, director of the University of California San Diego’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, a key partner institution in the Mexico Opium Network, said. “More research and data on the opium economy and its stakeholders is needed to understand these communities’ social realities.”
Mexico is the world’s third-largest producer of opium and heroin. In mountainous regions, poppy production is a common complementary activity to family farming, providing additional income in precarious economies.