follow us:
site: HOME > > Economic > China Buzz > Zeigeist
China's Southern Solution - Help Neighbors To Stop Growing Poppies

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo, a reporter from Laos, who is on exchange at the EO


Source: Manon Eileen



With the rise of the opium business in south east Asia, especially within the Golden Triangle where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet, China has endeavored to prevent the cultivation of the poppy.

At present, Chinese enterprises have invested more than 10 billion yuan introducing alternative crops to replace the opium poppy in northern Myanmar, Beijing News online reported.

More than 13 million people in northern Myanmar have benefited as the cultivation of alternative crops including rice, banana, corn, rubber, and sugarcane, has lifted regional income per capita from 500 yuan a year to 2,000 yuan.

In addition, Chinese enterprises have also introduced a similar program in Lao's northern provinces.

Despite having no detailed data, an official in charge of economic and commercial affairs at the Lao Embassy to China, Khampanh Sengthongkham, said the common crops are watermelons, cucumbers, tea and pumpkins. These crops are then exported to China.

However, opium poppy cultivation in South East Asia region has been increasing.

The 2010 South-East Asia Opium Survey released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that the region saw a 22 percent increase in poppy cultivation between 2009 and 2010.

Myanmar experienced the biggest increase in actual area with cultivation climbing by 6,400 hectares hectares, or 20%, to 38,100 hecatres. Laos has 3,000 hecatres of poppy fields, 58% more than in 2009, and Thailand has only 289.

The head of the UN's dugs office Yury Fedotov identifies "poverty and instability" as the driving forces that "push farmers to grow - or sometimes return to growing - illicit crops".

The survey also highlights the fact that opium prices have remained high in recent years.  In 2010, the potential value for opium production in South-East Asia rose dramatically to $219 million - $100 million more than the 2009 estimate.

The Golden Triangle, notorious for drug smuggling, has often seen outsiders get caught up in traffickers crimes, and, although there hasn't yet been a final verdict, they are the prime suspects for the recent murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River.


Comments(The views posted belong to the commentator, not representative of the EO)

username: Quick log-in

About China Buzz

The Economic Observer's editorial staff are always on the look out for interesting, fresh and high-quality China-related content. Whether it's the latest buzz on Weibo, links to insightful articles or updates on the latest books and reports, through China Buzz we'll keep you in the loop about what's going on in the world of Chinese politics and economics.

Most popular

this week
this month


E-mail subscription

Enter your e-mail address to subscribe to China Buzz and receive notifications of new posts through e-mail.