Poppy row blooms in Tasmania

by Jeremy Cherfas on March 6, 2013

Tasmania is convulsed by a row over the shortage of raw material to process into stuff euphemistically labelled “Concentrate of Poppy Straw“. A hint: you can get four kinds of CPS: morphine, thebaine, oripavine and codeine. In response, the government gave one of the processors permission to import 2000 tonnes of raw poppy capsules from Turkey. And in response to that Tasmania’s Legislative Council is holding an enquiry. It’s a bizarre situation, not least because, as long-time readers will know, we find it really hard to understand why Papaver somniferum is encouraged there and exterminated elsewhere.

Reading one newspaper report, there seem to be two ideas at work. One is that the import of 2000 tonnes — around 150-200 containers — poses a huge bio-security risk, presumably from invasive alien plants. And then there’s the question of why there is a shortage of home grown poppy. A commenter says the price he has been offered is too low and that a lot of growers will be anadoning the crop unless profits improve.

Ah, the perils of globalisation. I’m sure TPI Enterprises chose Turkey because it is the cheapest source of the raw material.

p.s. If you’re really interested, you could always apply to become a poppy grower in Tasmania. h/t Brendan Koerner.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

moonseed March 7, 2013 at 6:12 am

The application form suggests that poppy production can have a nasty side-effects on traffic as “those wanting to move through the (poppy) paddocks to access another paddock, must first obtain a permit from the Poppy Advisory and Control Board”

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Jeremy Cherfas March 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm

You’re right, that could be a monumental pain.

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Dirk Enneking March 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

Is there any connection to Australian military involvement in Afghanistan?

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