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  1. Guttz
    Bangkok - Myanmar's opium production increased 76 per cent this year, accounting for 16 per cent of the world's current supply of the illicit crop, the United Nations revealed Monday.

    'This represents a significant increase in light of last year when Myanmar's share was only 5 per cent,' said the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)'s South-East Asia opium survey for 2010.

    The report estimated Myanmar's opium production this year at 580 tons.

    Neighbouring Laos also saw a 58-per-cent rise in opium production this year, although its overall production at at 18 metric tons was still insignificant compared with Afghanistan and Myanmar, the world's two leaders in production of opium and the drug derived from it, heroin.

    Afghanistan, which has been the world's leading opium and heroin producer for more than a decade, witnessed a decline in production this year due to a fungus epidemic.

    The UNODC has been conducting crop substitution programmes in north-eastern Myanmar and northern Laos since 1996, with the main funding coming from the European Union and governments of Australia and Germany.

    Although the programme has succeeded in reducing opium production in South-East Asia from a peak of 1,760 tons in 1996 to 312 tons in 2006, production has been on the rise ever since.

    One factor may be weather patterns and declining food supply in the areas, forcing more families into growing opium as a cash crop to buy food.

    'Food security has deteriorated in almost all regions where the survey took place,' the UNODC report said. 'The erosion of food security is of particular concern because it could trigger a further increase in opium cultivation.'

    Deforestation in these remote areas of Myanmar and Laos may be another reason for the decline in food production.

    'Certainly the removal of forest cover has had an impact on the soil, erosion and water retention,' said Gary Lewis, UNODC representative for the Asia-Pacific region.

    'There has been massive depletion of forest coverage, and with that comes problems of retaining your top soil, and water retention,'

    Opium is a notoriously hardy plant, capable of growing in mountainous terrain with arid soil.

    Ongoing conflicts between the Myanmar military regime and various insurgencies based in the Shan States in the east of the country, where the majority of Myanmar's opium is grown, are another reason for a lack of progress in the area.

    Myanmar's general elections on November 7 are unlikely to resolve the security threats, observers say.

    'I think in terms of the post-election environment, the issues remain,' said Jason Eligh, UNODC's representative in Myanmar. 'We need a resolution in terms of the conflict in those areas,' he said.

    The UNODC crop-substitution programme is one of the only international aid programmes in the Shan States.

    'I would like to think that our partners in the donor community do not wait for a perfect environment to be in place before they engage, because a lot of this can happen even while there is a lot of insecurity,' Lewis said.

    Dec 13, 2010, 7:49 GMT

    http://www.monstersandcritics.com/n...php/Myanmar-s-opium-production-up-76-per-cent

Comments

  1. mersann
    If Myanmar's share was 5 percent last year and increased by 76 percent this year, and the worldwide production of opium had remained the same, you'd expect it to be around 9 percent this year, not 16. If these numbers are correct, you have to assume that the worldwide supply dropped 40% or so.

    However,
    This means that in the rest of the world, the drop in opium production must have been even more extreme than 40%, depending on how much of the world's opium is produced in other areas of the world. (How many other relevant opium producing areas are there?)

    Either this, or some of the numbers are outright wrong which is most definitely the case, if South-East Asia produces much more opium than the rest of the world together which I don't know about.

    If it is true, though, might rising prices have to do with an increase in opium production where possible? With Myanmar being a pretty isolated country as opposed to Afghanistan where the US are actively supporting the War on Drugs.
  2. Guttz
    Financial crisis fuels opium surge in Golden Triangle

    [imgl=white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=18436&stc=1&d=1292324478[/imgl]There has been a surge in opium production in South East Asia in 2010, apparently because of the global financial crisis.

    Figures from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) show opium poppy cultivation rose 22 per cent in the Golden Triangle region covering Thailand, Burma and Laos.

    Cultivation in the region has almost doubled in just four years and the potential value for opium production rose to $219 million.

    That is an increase of $100 million from a year ago.

    Gideon Warhaft, the editor of Users News which is published by the NSW Users and Aids Association, says there are two reasons why the financial crisis would have an impact.

    "The first is that when people lose their jobs and become financially desperate, they turn to things they wouldn't normally consider to try and make money," he said.

    "The second is that when you have lots of people lose their jobs and fall into despair, there's a likelihood that drug use increases; human beings have a tendency to mask their pain by taking substances."

    The UN says poverty and instability are two of the drivers for farmers to grow or sometimes return to growing illicit crops.

    The increase in opium production, however, also comes at a time of increased eradication.

    Authorities in the Golden Triangle destroyed more than 9,000 hectares of poppy fields this year, an increase from 4,900 hectares destroyed in 2009.

    Earlier this year the UN reported Afghanistan's opium crop almost halved in the past year.

    Afghanistan produces an estimated 90 per cent of the world's opium.

    But Mr Warhaft says the drop in Afghanistan is due more to plant pests than law enforcement.

    "It was a somewhat mysterious fungus that attacked large parts of the Afghan opium crop, and we're seeing some of the diverse consequences in the UK at the moment where there's a high rate of overdoses from people taking a heroin substitute," he said.

    "Most Australian heroin is sourced from the Golden Triangle, not from Afghanistan and Pakistan where most of the UK's heroin is sourced from.

    "But the same thing's happened in Burma, where for quite a few years due to droughts and other reasons there the crop was a lot lower.

    "So as you see in other parts of the agricultural sector, some years are good and some years are bad."

    UNODC says there must be a renewed focus on encouraging farmers in the Golden Triangle to shift to other crops by giving them access to micro credit.

    Availability

    While the region may traditionally supply Australia's heroin, Mr Warhaft says it is unclear if the increased production will have an impact on the drug's availability.

    "As we know in Australia, many heroin users have turned to heroin substitutes such as OxyContin and other pharmaceuticals, so you may see some of those people going back to using heroin if the purity increases and the availability increases," he said.

    "The vagaries of fashion apply to drugs as they do to many, many other things.

    "The Federal Police took much of the credit for what was known as the heroin drought a few years ago, but there was plenty of evidence to suggest it was actually the same traffickers that were bringing in a big surge of methamphetamine that we experienced precisely at the exact time heroin was on the decline.

    "So I think we need to be sceptical that it is the efforts of policing that really influences the availability of drugs."

    Recently, police in New South Wales and Victoria made major drug busts and charged alleged king pins of the Australian drug trade.

    If the law enforcement effort is indeed effective, it will be seen in the price, purity and availability of drugs at a street level by mid-next year.

    By Paula Kruger
    December 14, 2010
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/12/14/3093232.htm?section=justin
  3. Spucky
    AW: Myanmar's opium production up 76 per cent

    To get a better Information please visit:
    http://www.shanland.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3216%3Ashan-drug-watch-issue-3&catid=100%3Adrug-watch&Itemid=279

    I am thinking that the whole Situation in Myanmar is highly explosive since a few Month because of
    the ban of Products from Thailand and the closure of the Tourism-Sector in some Parts,
    but more important is the decreasing Water-Level of the Burmese-Aorta "Mekong"!

    Without the Mekong everything will collapse

    Regards
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