BANGKOK – Official efforts to stamp out opium production in Myanmar are falling flat because poor farmers dont have alternative ways to make a living, a U.N. agency said early today.
The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime estimated in its annual Southeast Asia Opium Survey that Myanmars 2013 opium harvest will total 870 metric tons. That would be a 26 percent rise over 2012 production.
The U.N. agency said the trend is particularly alarming as economic integration and improved infrastructure binding Southeast Asia and southern China create opportunities for criminal trafficking.
The drug-producing heartland where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos converge, the infamous Golden Triangle, is also a major source of methamphetamine as well as heroin.
The organized criminal networks that benefit from Southeast Asias illicit drug trade are well positioned to take advantage of regional integration, UNODC representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Jeremy Douglas said in a statement.