News / Asia

UN: Opium Production in Burma Increases

FILE - Villagers harvest opium in a field in Burma's Shan state.
FILE - Villagers harvest opium in a field in Burma's Shan state.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
The United Nations says opium production in Burma continued to increase in 2013, in part because poppy farmers had few other ways to make a living.

Cultivation of opium poppies in South East AsiaCultivation of opium poppies in South East Asia
x
Cultivation of opium poppies in South East Asia
Cultivation of opium poppies in South East Asia
In an annual report, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime estimated Burma, also known as Myanmar, produced 870 tons of opium in 2013 - the highest amount since it began keeping track in 2002.

Burma is second only to Afghanistan in growing opium poppies, a key ingredient in heroin and other illegal drugs.

In 1999, the country promised to eradicate opium production by 2014. But production has now gone up for seven straight years.

Jason Eligh, UNODC's country manager for Burma, says the idea of a drug-free Burma is a "quite long way away."

One of the main problems, Eligh says, is that opium poppies are the only source of adequate income for many farmers in Burma, which is Southeast Asia's poorest country.

"If a family has no money and they don't have the capacity through the environment around them to earn money, then they're going to take whatever measures they can to try and get money just to survive, just to eat, and that's what we're seeing occurring," he said.

Year after year, the UNODC reports find that opium production is also linked to ethnic unrest along Burma's northeast border areas.

Opium production in Burma by state, 2013Opium production in Burma by state, 2013
x
Opium production in Burma by state, 2013
Opium production in Burma by state, 2013
Most of Burma's illegal opium crops are found in Kachin and Shan states, where violence between insurgents and the army have raged on for as long as 50 years.

"That's a long period of time for local infrastructure to deteriorate and in some places disappear completely. So your options, your opportunities as a farmer are significantly restricted," said Eligh.

Burma's government has tried to reach peace deals with many ethnic insurgent groups, though fighting rages on in some areas.

The peace efforts are part of Burma's wider political and economic reforms and opening up, which follow decades of stifling, direct military rule.

But while the region has seen improved infrastructure, Eligh says this has provided more opportunities for criminals to benefit from the illegal drug trade.

"As you get more roads, as you get bridges crossing rivers, as you get economies that are starting to integrate better with those around them... you're seeing an environment for an increase in flow of a variety of different products, and heroin is just one of a number of products that are moved for profit," he said.

The U.N. report also cited rising demand for illegal drugs in nearby countries, such as China, as something that was exacerbating Burma's opium problem.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid