A Bedouin who lives in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt has resorted to growing opium for drug traffickers in order to make a living.
The man told the media that he previously provided camel tours to tourists. Before the uprising and revolution in Egypt in 2011, the man would see about 60 tourists each day. In the years following the revolution, the number of tourists have basically dropped to zero.
Many of the workers in the region turned to growing opium in order to make money. From 0 fields before 2011, there were around 100 fields reportedly in the area as of 2014. Each new growing season brought in more opium fields.
In the planting season of 2014, the man had about 5 kilos of raw opium that he was planning on selling to drug traffickers. According to the man, drug dealers pay him a little under $1,370 €1,000 per kilo. After splitting the profit with his business partner and calculating expenses such as seeds, water and labor, the farmer’s total profit from his opium field is about $826 €600. This amount is significantly less than what he made a a tour guide.
Source: Theresa Breuer, “Egypt’s Tourism Crash Gives Way To Bustling Opium Trade,” WorldCrunch, May 8, 2014.