Opium Production in Myanmar Reaches Highest Level Since 2013 Amid Economic Hardship and Civil War

United nations (un) has reported that opium production in myanmar nearly doubled in 2022 to 795 metric tonnes, up from 423 metric tonnes in 2021. the un believes this is due to economic hardship, insecurity, and higher global prices for opium resin, which has been attributed to the coup and subsequent civil war that is still ongoing in the country. the un office on drugs and crime (unodc) has also observed increases in synthetic drug production, which have replaced opium as a source of funding for armed groups.

Opium production in myanmar has reached its highest level since 2013, with poppy farmers’ earnings climbing to $280/kg, and the area of opium poppy cultivation rising by a third to 40,100 hectares in 2022. this rise in opium production and cultivation happened in 2022, primarily in remote, often conflict-prone areas in northern shan and border states.

Increase in opium production and cultivation is attributed to economic hardship, insecurity, and higher global prices for opium resin, as well as increasingly sophisticated farming practices. without alternatives and economic stability, it is likely that opium cultivation and production will continue to expand, as it has become an attractive crop and commodity due to strong demand. the un has stated that the solutions should account for the challenges people in traditional opium-cultivating areas face, such as isolation and conflict, as opium cultivation was really about economics and that destroying crops would only escalate vulnerabilities.


By Evey Lovelace

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