prepare the fields, weed the plants, and harvest the opium are much greater than for other cash crops or food crops.
About 20 countries cultivate poppy for pharmaceutical use (Chouvy 2009). They include Australia (Tasmania), Austria, China, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, India, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. China, India, South Korea, and Japan produce raw opium; India is the only country that exports raw opium (Mansfield 2001; Bhattacharji 2007; Chouvy 2008), and the other three maintain their supply for domestic medicinal use (Chouvy 2009). The remaining countries cultivate opium poppies that they harvest and dry, producing “poppy straw.” The poppy straw is then processed to produce concentrate of poppy straw, which can be used to extract opioid alkaloids (Chouvy 2009). Tasmanian production fell from 20,000 hectares in 2000 to 10,000 hectares in 2007 (Berkoff 2007); as of 2010, 25,000 hectares of poppy production had been contracted to meet world demand (Sanders 2010).
The production of opium in India is regulated by the Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN), which licenses growers (Bhattacharji 2007). For the year 2009-2010, roughly 60,800 farmers were licensed to grow opium poppy on about 23,400 hectares (12,200 hectares was actually harvested). The farmers must meet a minimum qualifying yield determined by CBN to be eligible for a license to grow opium poppy in the next year (Bhattacharji 2007). Most of the farmers use plots of 0.1 hectare, but some high-performing growers are permitted to plant on 0.2-hectare plots (Bhattacharji 2007).
Varieties of P. somniferum that are low in opiates are widely grown in Europe and Eurasia for poppy-seed production. Poppy seeds are used in specialty breads and cakes. The major producers of poppy seeds are the Czech Republic (53,623 hectares), Turkey (48,893 hectares), France (10,000 hectares), Hungary (3,928 hectares), Romania (3,100 hectares), Austria (2,186 hectares), Slovakia (1,904 hectares), Croatia (1,642 hectares), and Spain (1,400 hectares) (FAOSTAT 2009). Under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, Schedule II (2005), P. somniferum is illegal to possess or grow in the United States, except as poppy seed used for culinary purposes. However, cultivation of opium poppy for nonnarcotic use is common in the United States, including for use of dried seed capsules in flower arrangements and for selling Papaver seeds to grow poppies in gardens.