Establishment of the Ministry of Progress for the Border Areas and National Races and Development Affairs

In order to implement the works for the border area development more effectively and expeditiously, the Government created a separate Ministry for the Development of Border Areas and National Races on 24 September 1992 and assigned the Ministry solely for this purpose. With a view to enabling it to effectively undertake the development matters of the townships and villages, the Ministry was subsequently reorganized and renamed as the Ministry of Progress for the Border Areas and National Races and Development Affairs on 30 January 1994.

On 13 August 1993, the Government promulgated the Law on Development of Border Areas and the National Races with one of its main purposes being the total elimination of poppy growing through creation of alternative economic activities for the local people. Empowered by this law, the Government has been making all-out efforts for the multi-faceted development of those remote and mountainous regions, placing emphasis also on getting rid of the poppy growing practice in the border areas.

Under this multi-faceted development programme for the border areas and national races, efforts are being made for the improvement of the infrastructures and sector-wise development activities, especially in the poppy growing regions. Through the introduction of modern agriculture skills to the local people and provisions of a wide-range of inputs, the programme is encouraging them to do away with the illegal poppy growing practice and to switch to cultivation of high-valued perennial and seasonal crops. Currently arrangements are being made to cultivate opium substitution crops such as paddy, cotton, and rubber, tea and buckwheat in those border areas.