Govt to invite investors for poppy-substitute efforts

The parliament was to discuss incentives that would entice private companies in poppy-substitute projects in the country in a bid to help reduce, if not eradicate the drug menace, a member of the parliament said.

Member of parliament Daw Khin Hnin Thit representing Padaung township in Bago Region proposed to tap private investors as the government budget cannot be fully allocated to poppy substitution projects.

International law enforcement agencies estimated that the Shan State accounts for 90 percent of the total poppy production in the country, which is the second highest in the world next to Afghanistan.

Daw Khin Hnin Thit said poppy is grown in 40 townships in Shan state and there are about 300,000 poppy farmers in Myanmar, she told the parliament.

“To eradicate poppy growing, we must provide alternative livelihood for the survival of many of these people,” she said.

The fact that poppy farms fetch much higher income than other crops remains biggest challenge to opium replacement programs.

According to the report of UNODC, although there were 41,000 hectares of poppy farms in Myanmar in 2017, the number decreased to 37,300 hectares in 2018, which was 12 pc decrease.

But it expressed alarm over the increase in the production of methamphetamines in the Golden Triangle area, which include Shan, and these are found to be exported mainly to Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Korea.

Source: Myanmar Times

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