11 January 2019
On Friday, Myanmar Opium Survey 2018 Report was launched at the Drug Museum in Yangon.
The report was jointly conducted by the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) of Ministry of Home Affairs and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The annual opium survey serves as an essential tool to evaluate the extent of opium poppy cultivation in Myanmar and connection between drugs, economy and ongoing conflicts.
The methodology used for the report combines satellite imagery and a yield survey to make assessments on poppy cultivation and production.
According to the survey, Shan State accounts for 90% of total opium poppy cultivation in Myanmar with 42% in Southern Shan State, 31% in Eastern and 17% in northern part of the state. The remaining 8% of cultivation is found in Kachin state and 2% in other states and regions.
Head Officer, Project Management Department, CCDAC, Pol. Col. Oke Soe Tun said “The Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) has been working on annual opium surveys together with UNODC since 2001. This is the 16th time releasing the report. We went to poppy fields based on images captured by satellite and calculated cultivation area and production volume. Surveys were conducted to poppy farmers as well.”
In 2018, the total amount of opium cultivation area in Myanmar was estimated at 37,300 hectares which makes it 9.1% less than total cultivation area in 2017.
The total production volume of 2018 was also declined 53% in comparison with that of 2017.
Moreover, over 6000 acres of poppy fields from 2017 to 2018 and over 3800 acres from 2018 to January of 2019 were destroyed in 46 townships of 6 states and regions such as Shan state, Chin state, Kachin state, Kayah state, Mgway region and Mandalay region.
Head Officer, Anti-drug Police Force, CCDAC, Acting Pol. Col. Zaw Lin said “The force mainly worked on eliminating raw materials of drugs. Last year, a high-level regional conference on precursor control was held in cooperation with UNODC in Nay Pyi Taw. There are plans to carry out precursor control processes collaborating with neighbouring countries. In 2018, 3 big anti-drug operations within Myanmar were carried out successfully based on data of drug transportation routes from previous years.”
The most recent socio-economic survey of UNODC identified insecurity, lack of employment opportunities and infrastructure and income inequality are associated with poppy cultivation.
The key findings from the survey will be used for future works of drug eradication and designing effective alternative development options and programmes as well as strategies to sustain the transition from an illicit to a licit economy.