Report: Myanmar Passes Afghanistan as World’s Largest Opium Producer

A UN report claims that Myanmar has overtaken Afghanistan as the world’s largest producer of opium, Nicholas Yong reports for BBC. Myanmar’s opium production this year is estimated to rise by 36 percent to 1,080 tonnes, compared to Afghanistan, which produced 330 tonnes during the same time and where production has dropped by 95 percent after a drug ban by the ruling Taliban last year. Meanwhile, in Myanmar, in the past year cultivation has increased by an estimated 18 percent and has also become “increasingly sophisticated”, the report says, and more productive, because of the use of densely organized plots, irrigation systems and sometimes fertilizers. Rising prices for the crop have also drawn more people into growing it. The report estimates that up to 154 tonnes of heroin has been exported this year from Myanmar, with a value of up to $2.2bn.

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