United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime news release: "Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan covered 154,000 hectares (ha) in 2012, 18 per cent higher than the 131,000 recorded the previous year, according to the 2012 Afghanistan Opium Survey released by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). However, since plant diseases and bad weather had damaged crops, potential opium production fell 36 per cent over the same period from 5,800 to 3,700 tons. Cultivation increased despite a significant 154 per cent increase in Government eradication efforts (over 9,600 ha eradicated in 2012 compared with just over 3,800 in 2011). The number of poppy-free provinces remains unchanged at 17 but Ghor province in the west lost that status in 2012 while Faryab province in the north regained it...This year saw 95 per cent of cultivation concentrated in the southern and western provinces where insecurity and organized crime are present: 72 per cent in Hilmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Day Kundi and Zabul provinces in the south, and 23 per cent in Farah, Hirat, and Nimroz provinces to the west. This confirms the link between insecurity and opium cultivation observed since 2007, says the Survey."