Licit Opium Production: Non-Traditional
Increasingly, commercial opium production does not produce opium at all. Instead, it produces Papaver somniferum straw from which alkaloids are isolated. Obviously, there are no figures available for opium yields for this kind of production. However, there are numbers for morphine yields and these allow us to work backwards to determine equivalent opium yields so that we can compare this kind cultivation with the traditional.
Equivalent opium production can be determined for Papaver somniferum by making three assumptions. First, the number of kilogram of straw yield per hectare harvested is 600; we will call this variable Y. Second, straw yields 0.2% of its weight in morphine; this is variable M. Third, opium is 12% morphine; this is variable P. We can thus convert the straw areas to opium production:
AREA * (Y kg/Ha) * (M kg/kg) / (P kg/kg)
On the basis of this, the equivalent opium production in kg is equal to the area planted in hectares times ten.