ABOUT 40 acres of opium poppy fields in the Loilem District of southern Shan State were destroyed by an anti-drug squad starting in the second week of this month.
In collaboration with residents in opium poppy-growing villages, a combined team comprised of local police, members of the Myanmar armed forces and departmental staff actively destroyed opium crops cultivated along mountains across Hantbin Village-tract in Namhsan Township between 11 and 18 November of this year.
This was part of the government’s efforts to eradicate opium production in the country.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Myanmar is Southeast Asia’s largest opium and poppy-growing country. The vast majority of opium poppy cultivation has been reported in the eastern, northern and southern parts of Shan State, followed by Kachin, Kayah and Chin states.
According to the annual Southeast Asia Opium Survey conducted by the UNODC, the total opium poppy production of Myanmar in 2015 was estimated at more than 55,000 hectares, a decrease of 4 per cent when compared with 2014.
Authorities continue eradication campaigns in the opium poppy-growing areas.
Thura Aung (IPRD)