Poppy output in Shan State dropping because of weather
Due to harsh of weather in the last season, opium output in Shan State is down though the cultivation had increased, according to reliable sources.
By Hseng Khio Fah
3 February 2009
Most poppy fields were partly or totally destroyed after heavy downpours in late November 2008 and later by bitter frost, till many farmers in southern Shan State were finding it difficult to survive and to pay taxes, said an opium trader.
“Some farmers had to dig roots and eat as they had lost their investment. To make it worse, they were forced to pay taxes to the authorities,” said a villager from Kali, Kunhing Township.
Opium traders are saying that this year’s output in Loilem, Laikha, Mongkeung and Kehsi townships could only be 30% out of 100 % compared to last year.
There was a villager who invested about Kyat 4 million (US$ 3,809) in his farm, but he ended getting only 1.5 viss (1 viss=1.6kg) of opium, said a trader.
Opium price in the area was Kyat 750,000 per viss (US$ 714) at the time.
Nay Pyi Daw had also been insisting that local authorities do more to eradicate cultivation in their respective areas. “That was a tall order,” said a trader, “because everyone knows military units in Shan State are being fed by the people and not the government.”
According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), Burma’s 2007-2008 output had increased 3 percent.