Photographer's Note

Tasmania is the world's largest producer of opium alkaloids for the pharmaceutical market. Standards placed on the industry by the Federal, State and US governments are stringent with very high levels of scientific expertise necessary.

The industry is highly efficient. It produces about 50% of the world's concentrated poppy straw (CPS) for morphine and related opiates from merely 10.7% of the production area.
Other major players are Turkey with 23% of morphine CPS, France with 21% morphine CPS and Spain with 4%. India, by contrast, produces traditional opium from which the US extracts opium alkaloids. India's morphine production is similar to Tasmania. Tasmania has an alkaloid yield of about 9.3 kg/ha compared with France at 7.0 kg/ha, Spain 4.9 kg/ha and Turkey at 1.1 kg/ha.

Most of Tasmania's exports are codeine, thebaine and other opiates. GlaxoKlineSmith exports to Port Fairy poppy straw which is processed to produce norphine, codeine and thebaine.

The industry was introduced into Tasmania by Mr. Steven King in the late 1960's for MacFarlan Smith, a subsidiary of Glaxo, now GlaxoSmithKline. The industry uses the dried poppy straw technique developed by Janos Kabay of Hungary.

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Additional Photos by Leslie Bennett (williewhistler) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1247 W: 41 N: 2372] (16606)
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