The Tenth Myanmar- U.S.A. Joint Opium Yield Survey for
the Total Eradication of Narcotic Drugs

 

1.     The Tenth Myanmar-U.S.A Joint Opium Yield Survey was conducted as part of the collaboration programme between the Myanmar and the United States of America for the total eradication of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The Joint Myanmar–U.S.A team headed by member of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) Brigadier General Kyaw Thein, conducted the survey from the 3 March to 12 March 2004 in the regions of Mongpan Township, Hsihsaing Township, Namhsan Township, Lechar Township and Mongshu of Shan State (South); Mongpyin Township, Kyaington Township, and Mongkhat Township of Shan State (East); in the ‘Wa’ regions of Khwin Mar, Mongmao, Namtip, Lonhtan, Panlon and Hopan of Shan State (North) and in the Kokang regions of Laukkai, Shauk-haw of Kutkai Township and Kaungkkha of Shan State (North). The team travelled to these isolated regions which are difficult of access by helicopter to conduct on the ground survey of cultivated opium plots, collect samples of opium bulbs and opium seeds, interview local opium peasants and inspect opium plots that had been destroyed.  

 

2.   During the tour the team visited the No. 2 Special ‘Wa’ region in Shan State (North) to observe the opium substitute tea plantation, the lychee and longan orchards, the mango and honey orange orchards, the rubber plantation and the factory project being undertaken under the alternative development programme. They then proceeded to Mongpauk to observe the progress of the ‘Wa’ Alternative Development Programme (WADP) being undertaken by the United Nations Office of Drug Control (UNODC). The combined team then visited the Lashio coffee nursery and plantation, the model chicken farm and pig farm, observed the distribution of “Bonmon Hsin Shweli” premium quality corn seeds, and toured the apiary and the Macademia orchard being implemented under the sponsorship of the Northeast Military Command. The next stop on the itinerary was at Laukkai in No. 1 Special Region in Shan State (North) where the team visited the Drug Control Museum, inspected the opium substitute mango and orange orchards; the livestock breeding project that is part of the alternative development programme, other projects being implemented for the development of the border areas and ongoing activities towards the eradication of narcotic drugs. The team then proceeded to Kaungkhar of Special Region No.5 of Shan State (North). The Joint Myanmar-U.S.A team then toured the opium substitute tea plantation and the terrace cultivation work in progress. The team next went to Shauk-haw in Kutkai Township and observed the   cultivation of wheat, green peas, lentil, Chinese lablab bean and soybean as opium crop substitute crops. They also met and held discussions with leaders of the national races. The team members also held detailed discussions with responsible officials of the region on the situation regarding opium crop substitution, substitute livestock breeding, and the treatment for drug addicts and interdiction activities against narcotic drugs.

 

 

3.   The members of the U.S. contingent was headed by Counselor of the U.S. Embassy in Yangon Ms. Penelope M. Kalogeropoulos and consisted of members of the U.S Department of State stationed in Yangon, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S Department of Agriculture and responsible officials of the U.S. embassy.

 

4.   Myanmar and the United States of America have collaborated in opium yield surveys towards the total eradication of narcotic drugs since 1993. According to announcements issued by the United State of America, the acreage of land under opium poppy cultivation and opium yield in Myanmar has significantly declined since 1997. This has been corroborated by the statistics of the Base Line Data collected by Myanmar in 1998.  In this year’s opium cultivation season, there has been a substantial decline in opium cultivation due to the success of the government’s New Destiny Project. Moreover, the observations of this year’s survey show that the entire Kokang region is now free of opium cultivation and that, the few opium plots found in some other regions have not flourished and show definite signs of a poor yield. So it is certain that for year 2004 the opium yield per acre, will not only be less than that of the previous years, but that the overall acreage of opium cultivation also is expected to be very much diminished.

 

5.   The Joint Opium Yield Survey carried out by Myanmar and the U.S.A is the tenth such survey of its kind. If a comparative study should be made of the statistical results of former surveys as well as of the satellite pictures taken in previous years with those of 2004, especially with regard to Shan State (North), it will be found that significant progress has been made in the eradication of opium cultivation.


Photos