Economic forecast: cheap rugs and healthy eating ahead

Parliament convened yesterday for (among other things) the first Prime Minister’s Questions since MPs’ summer break. Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell called on Gordon Brown to ‘take some leadership in encouraging the export of goods from Afghanistan’.

Although the Prime Minister and other speakers had mentioned the matter of Afghan heroin, it’s worth just putting things in perspective. According to the IMF, the principal 2006/2007 export figures for Afghanistan were:

  • Carpets: 187,000,000
  • Dried fruit: 126,000,000
  • Fresh fruit: 39,000,000

According to a recent report by the US Congressional Advice Service, the UN estimate for 2008 (which it describes as having fallen from “all-time highs” [sic] in 2006/2007 was:

  • Opium and derived narcotics: $3,000,000,000

That’s an awful lot of fruit and carpets.