IN THIS WEEK’S ISSUE

Myanmar tops Afghanistan in opium production

Logan D Suza

After the Taliban government came to power in Afghanistan last year, the country’s poppy cultivation has fallen by 95 percent as a result of a ban on the drug.

Myanmar has overtaken Afghanistan to become the top producer of opium. This is stated in a UN report.

According to the report, Myanmar is expected to increase opium production by 36 percent to 1,080 tons this year. Meanwhile, Afghanistan is reported to have produced 330 tonnes of opium this year.

After the Taliban government came to power in Afghanistan last year, the country’s poppy cultivation has fallen by 95 percent as a result of a ban on the drug.

On the other hand, poppy cultivation has increased in Myanmar. Opium production is seen as an attractive alternative or means of livelihood in the face of financial disaster due to the ongoing civil war there.

“Myanmar’s economy, security and governance have all been disrupted since the military took power in 2021,” said Douglas Jeremy, Regional Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Due to conflict, instability, farmers in remote areas of the country are turning to opium production for livelihood.”

Opium is produced from poppy cultivation. And this opium is the main ingredient of the powerful drug heroin. Myanmar has been producing opium for decades. Opium funds the government’s fight against the rebels.

Poppy cultivation has increased by an estimated 18 percent in the past year alone, since a military coup in 2021 sparked civil war in Myanmar. Moreover, as the price of opium continues to rise, more people are interested in producing it.

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